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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2006 Jul 25;254-255:172-8. Epub 2006 Jun 27.

Gender-related psychological and behavioural correlates of pubertal timing in a national sample of Swiss adolescents.

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Multidisciplinary Unit for Adolescent Health and Research group on Adolescent Health, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.


The potential consequences of early and late puberty on the psychological and behavioural development of the adolescent are not well known. This paper presents focused analyses from the Swiss SMASH study, a self-administered questionnaire survey conducted among a representative sample of 7488 adolescents from 16 to 20 years old. Data from participants reporting early or late timing of puberty were compared with those reporting average timing of maturation. Early maturing girls reported a higher rate of dissatisfaction with body image (OR=1.32) and functional symptoms (OR=1.52) and reported engaging in sexual activity more often (OR=1.93). Early maturing boys reported engaging in exploratory behaviours (sexual intercourse, legal and illegal substance use) at a significantly higher rate (OR varying between 1.4 and 1.99). Both early and late maturing boys reported higher rates of dysfunctional eating patterns (OR=1.59 and 1.38, respectively), victimisation (OR=1.61 and 1.37, respectively) and depressive symptoms (OR=2.11 and 1.53, respectively). Clinicians should take into account the pubertal stage of their patients and provide them, as well as their parents, with appropriate counselling in the field of mental health and health behaviour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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