Is psychopathology associated with the timing of pubertal development?

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1997 Dec;36(12):1768-76. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199712000-00026.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychopathology
  • Puberty / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Maturation