Assessing biological maturity: chronological age and the pubertal development scale predict free testosterone in adolescent males

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Mar;28(3-4):381-6. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2014-0187.


Background: Pubertal development status has implications for development of physical characteristics, performance, and injury risk in school-aged athletes.

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of non-invasive measures of biological maturity to predict salivary free testosterone.

Participants: A total of 61 physically active males (ages 6-16) participated in this study.

Methods: Participants had their anthropometrics measured, completed the Pubertal Development Scale (PDS), and reported their birthdays and the heights of their biological parents. Exact chronological age and percent of predicted height were calculated. Resting salivary samples were collected and assessed for free testosterone levels using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay procedures. Variables were entered into a stepwise linear regression to predict free testosterone.

Results: The regression model was statistically significant (R²=0.716, F₂,₆₁=74.2, p<0.005) with chronological age (β=0.66, t₆₀=7.587, p<0.005) and PDS (β=0.26, t₆₀=3.02, p=0.004) remaining as significant predictors of free testosterone.

Conclusions: Chronological age and PDS adequately predict salivary free testosterone levels in school-aged males and may be an appropriate tool to evaluate physical maturity in school-aged males quickly, cheaply, and accurately.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development*
  • Age Determination by Skeleton / methods
  • Body Height
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Puberty* / metabolism
  • Puberty* / physiology
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Sexual Maturation*
  • Testosterone / analysis
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone