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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

ADOLESCENCE: Puberty and Biological Maturation

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It should be emphasized that the body of research examining the link between stress and pubertal onset is still relatively new, and as noted above, both accelerating and decelerating effects on maturation have been observed. Furthermore. other research has found no link between stress and pubertal onset.

Researchers have also studied how the hormonal changes associated with pubertal development relate to changes in children’s behavior during the early adolescent years. There are direct effects of hormones on behaviors, such as aggression, sexuality. and mood swings. Hormones also affect behavior indirectly through their impact on secondary sex characteristics, which, in turn, influence social experiences and psychological well-being. For example, when breast development is associated with increases in girls’ body image, it is also related to better psychological adjustment, more positive peer relations, and better school achievement (Brooks-Gunn & Warren, 1988).

Tags: encyclopedia of psychology
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