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01-06-2012 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 6/2012

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 6/2012

The Stability of Perceived Pubertal Timing Across Adolescence

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 6/2012
Auteurs:
Jessica Duncan Cance, Susan T. Ennett, Antonio A. Morgan-Lopez, Vangie A. Foshee

Abstract

It is unknown whether perceived pubertal timing changes as puberty progresses or whether it is an important component of adolescent identity formation that is fixed early in pubertal development. The purpose of this study is to examine the stability of perceived pubertal timing among a school-based sample of rural adolescents aged 11–17 (N = 6,425; 50% female; 53% White). Two measures of pubertal timing were used, stage-normative, based on the Pubertal Development Scale, a self-report scale of secondary sexual characteristics, and peer-normative, a one-item measure of perceived pubertal timing. Two longitudinal methods were used: one-way random effects ANOVA models and latent class analysis. When calculating intraclass correlation coefficients using the one-way random effects ANOVA models, which is based on the average reliability from one time point to the next, both measures had similar, but poor, stability. In contrast, latent class analysis, which looks at the longitudinal response pattern of each individual and treats deviation from that pattern as measurement error, showed three stable and distinct response patterns for both measures: always early, always on-time, and always late. Study results suggest instability in perceived pubertal timing from one age to the next, but this instability is likely due to measurement error. Thus, it may be necessary to take into account the longitudinal pattern of perceived pubertal timing across adolescence rather than measuring perceived pubertal timing at one point in time.

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