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Dev Psychol. 2004 Nov;40(6):1188-98.

Genetic and environmental influences on pubertal development: longitudinal data from Finnish twins at ages 11 and 14.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.


To study sources of individual differences in pubertal development, the authors fit a sex-limitation common factor model to data reported, at ages 11 and 14 years, by 1,891 twin pairs on items that comprise the Pubertal Development Scale (PDS; A. C. Petersen, L. Crockett, M. Richards, & A. Boxer, 1988). The model divides variation into a general pubertal factor and item-specific variation and, in addition, decomposes it into constituent sources. In both boys and girls, genetic influences made the largest contribution to variance common to PDS items. Genetic and nonshared environmental factors accounted for variation specific to PDS items in boys, whereas for girls, common environmental influences were added for growth spurt and menarcheal status. For both common and item-specific variation, genetic effects were partially sex specific. Subsidiary analyses found accelerated maturation in both boys and girls who at age 14 were reared in father-absent homes.

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