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[Assessment of the effects of age at start of puberty on mental health in pre-adolescence: results of a longitudinal study (1989-1991)].

[Article in French]

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  • 1SUPEA, Unité de recherche, Lausanne Suisse.


The transition from childhood to adolescence is widely believed to be a stressful period in which the child faces multiple changes: physical changes, school choices, development of new social roles, and changes in the relation with his or her parents and friends. We investigated the effects of the timing of puberty on mental health, studied in a population of 219 young adolescents who were followed during three years (mean age at the beginning of the study was 12.5 years). The changes in the perception of the individual's body associated with puberty depended on the child's gender. Significant events during puberty had a negative effect on mental health. Although puberty remains a critical period of temporary unstable and fragile transition, most of the young adolescents coped relatively well with the physiological, psychological and social changes they faced.

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