Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the links between pubertal maturation, physical self-esteem and sexuality in adolescence, differentiating between boys and girls.
Method: The sample was comprised of 312 French secondary school children (seventh and ninth grades); 52.6 % (n=164) of whom were girls. Participants answered three self-evaluation questionnaires: the scale of sexuality (interests, emotions, relationships: IERS) in prime adolescence (12 to 15 years); (b) the self-administered rating scale for pubertal development and (c) the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ).
Results: Pubertal maturation was associated with higher scores on "Flirting with the aim of having sexual relations" and "Going out with someone", and a drop in overall and physical self-esteem, mainly in socially valued domains, namely "Body fat" for girls, and "Strength" and "Health" for boys. Overall physical self-esteem was associated with "Going out with someone" and "Flirting with the aim of having sexual relations" in boys.
Discussion: Physical changes at puberty induce two distinct trends in adolescents: sexual exploration and discovery (genitalized body), and self-depreciation (social body).
Keywords: Adolescence; Estime de soi corporelle; Maturation pubertaire; Physical self-esteem; Psychosexual behaviour; Pubertal maturation; Puberty; Puberté; Sexualité.
Copyright © 2015 L’Encéphale, Paris. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.