Conceptualizing Puberty as a Window of Opportunity for Impacting Health and Well-Being Across the Life Span

J Res Adolesc. 2019 Mar;29(1):155-176. doi: 10.1111/jora.12431.


We promote the perspective that puberty, a separate biological process embedded in adolescence, is a "window of opportunity" for understanding and impacting health and development. First, we include a brief overview of pubertal change. Second, we propose a critical role for puberty in shaping life span health due to its connections with early life precursors, health issues and risks emerging during puberty, and health in young adulthood and beyond. Next, we discuss the importance of puberty measures in developmental research and suggest ways to make the science of puberty an important standalone research entity, as well as an essential component of studies conducted during adolescence. Finally, we discuss measurement issues, novel theoretical models of puberty, and the necessity of adopting an interdisciplinary perspective in research on puberty and in adolescence more broadly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development / physiology*
  • Adolescent Health*
  • Concept Formation
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Puberty / physiology*
  • Puberty / psychology
  • Research / organization & administration*
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*

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