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22-12-2015 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 3/2016

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 3/2016

The Impact of Asynchronous Pubertal Development on Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood Among Females

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 3/2016
Auteurs:
Sarah M. Thompson, Constance Hammen, Patricia A. Brennan

Abstract

Puberty is accompanied by numerous psychological and interpersonal challenges, including a dramatic rise in the prevalence of depression among girls. Pubertal timing has been identified as a potent predictor of depressive symptoms among females, but less is known about other features of puberty. The present study sought to address this gap in the literature by examining the effect of pubertal synchrony, the degree to which morphological indicators of puberty develop concurrently, on depressive symptoms in adolescence and emerging adulthood in a longitudinal sample. Among 355 female participants, asynchronous development at age 13 was associated with increased depressive symptoms at age 20, but not age 15. Additional analyses indicated that pubertal timing moderated the association between synchrony and depressive symptoms at age 20, such that girls who exhibited asynchronous development had the highest levels of depressive symptoms when they matured later than peers. Results provide initial empirical support for the role of pubertal synchrony in the development of depression among females and are discussed with regard to the biopsychosocial processes that may connect features of puberty with the long-term development of psychopathology.

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