Objective: This investigation tested whether the timing of pubertal development was associated with concurrent and prior experiences of psychopathology (symptoms and disorders) in adolescent boys and girls.
Method: A large (N = 1,709) community sample of high school students were interviewed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children as adapted for use in epidemiological studies. Adolescents also completed a questionnaire battery covering a range of psychosocial variables.
Results: Analyses tested whether pubertal timing was associated with present and lifetime history of mental disorders, psychological symptoms, and psychosocial functioning. As hypothesized, early-maturing girls and late-maturing boys showed more evidence of psychopathology than other same-gender adolescents.
Conclusions: Early-maturing girls had the poorest current and lifetime history of adjustment problems, indicating that this pattern of pubertal development merits attention by mental health providers and researchers.