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Physical and Hormonal Changes


Biological Foundations in Adolescent Development Physical and Hormonal Changes Cultural & Psychological Responses to Puberty Neural Changes Physical changes Puberty ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Physical and Hormonal Changes

Biological Foundations in Adolescent Development
  • Physical and Hormonal Changes
  • Cultural Psychological Responses to Puberty
  • Neural Changes

Physical changes
  • Puberty onset of sexual maturation
  • Three neuroendocrine changes
  • Gonadal
  • Adrenal androgens
  • Growth

Gonadal and adrenal androgen axes
Gonadal (HPG) axis
Gonadotropin releasing hormone (LH, FSH are
gonadotropins) (testes or ovaries) (sex
hormones testosterone estradiol increase
dramatically -- gonadarche) (see next slide)
Sex Characteristics (examples)
Primary Sex Characteristics Secondary Sex Characteristics
Production of sperm (spermarche) or development of eggs Development of sex organs Pubic and axillary hair growth Skin becomes rougher oily Voice deepens Slight enlargement of breasts known as breast buds (also, in ¼ of boys)

Adrenal androgen (HPA) axis
(ACTH adrenocorticotropic
hormone) (e.g., testosterone) (leading to
secondary changes)
Growth spurts and height changes
Body composition changes
Given that girls naturally develop a lower
muscle-to-fat ratio than boys during puberty, why
would any culture create physical ideals that
demand thinness in females once they reach
puberty? AND what are the health implications?
The Order of Pubertal Events (see Table 2.2)
Pubertal Caveat
  • Virtually all the studies considered in the order
    of pubertal development have been conducted with
    White adolescents in the West
  • Variations may exist in other groups (see p. 45
    e.g., Kikuyu culture in Kenya, Chinese girls,
    African-American girls and boys)

Earlier Puberty
Tanner Stage 2 (breast and pubic hair devt) by
age 10 in the majority of girls (68 in
Euro-American girls 95 in African-American
The downward trend in the age of menarche has
occurred in every Western country for which
records exist. Why?
Responses to Puberty
  • Homework assignment
  • Next section
  • Cultural Psychological responses to puberty

Cultural Responses to Puberty Rituals in
Traditional Cultures
  • 79 of cultures had puberty rituals for girls
  • __________ (?) is the pubertal event that is most
    often marked by ritual
  • Cultural views are mixed as to the reaction to
    menstruation (see Historical Focus box in
  • 68 of cultures had puberty rituals for boys
    (e.g., vision quest ) (Roots video)
  • Typically rituals require the young man to
    display courage, strength and endurance (often

NOTE Globalization has been credited with the
decline in frequency of these rituals
Personal responses to puberty
  • Behavior and emotions
  • Problem behavior (e.g., aggression, conduct
    disorder symptoms, etc.) has been attributed to
    hormonal changes (but also to physical maturation
    and brain changes)
  • Testosterone (T) can lower boys frustration
    tolerance ? readiness to engage in aggression
  • Rapid hormonal changes are associated with
    depression, but hormonal storm view is far too
    simplistic. In fact
  • Hormonal levels account for only a tiny
    percentage of the variance in adolescents
    negative affect social influences account for
    considerably more

Pubertal timing and adjustment
  • There is a lot of research (which is conflicting)
    on the effects of timing of physical development
  • Theoretically, being off-time creates more
    stress and vulnerability to adjustment problems

Maturation - Girls
  • According to Arnett, the effects of early
    maturation are especially negative for girls, who
    are at risk for a variety of problems
  • Depressed mood, Negative body image, Eating
  • Delinquency, Substance use, School problems,
    Conflicts with parents
  • Caveat Early-maturing girls with no history of
    behavior problems experienced fewer problems than
    did girls with a history of behavior problems who
    matured on time
  • Late maturing girls have few of the problems that
    early-maturing girls have

Early Maturation - Boys
  • The effects of early maturation are more mixed
    for boys
  • Early maturing boys have
  • More favorable body image
  • Higher popularity
  • Earlier involvement in substance use,
    delinquency, and sex

Late Maturation Boys
  • Late maturing boys show evidence of problems
  • Compared with boys who mature on time late
    maturing boys have higher rates of
  • Alcohol use
  • Delinquency
  • Lower grades in school

Neural changes
  • New research in cognitive and affective
    neuroscience (Intro to The Teenage Brain
    PBS-DVD Sci American podcast on the teen brain)
  • Brain actively reorganizes itself cells and
    connections are pruned (for efficiency)
  • Prefrontal cortex (planning and decision making)
    undergoes a growth spurt in early A and continues
    to develop throughout A
  • Cortical-limbic pathways (thought-emotion
    connections) are slowly developing during
    adolescence (e.g., research on teens difficulty
    in reading emotions in peoples faces)
  • Implications?
  • Research example -- incarcerated adolescents
    displayed more impulsivity and poorer critical
    thinking than age-matched students (Chretien
    Persinger, 2000).
  • Driving and multitasking
  • Much more research needed