Faster growth during puberty triggers anxiety

September 2nd, 2011 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 2 (IANS) Children maturing faster during puberty are more likely to experience anxiety and blues, says a study.

Teachers and parents should not only watch the timing of puberty, but also its tempo — how fast or slow kids go through it, the journal Developmental Psychology reports.

Study author Kristine Marceau said: “We present a more comprehensive picture of what happens during adolescence and why behaviour problems may ensue as a result of going through these changes.”

The team led by Elizabeth Susman from Penn State University, analysed data from 364 boys and 373 girls, collected by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The data included information about pubic hair development in girls and boys.

Growth of breasts and genitals was analysed among girls and boys respectively while weight and height was assessed in both.

Why does going through puberty at a faster rate relate to external behaviour problems and internal anxiety and depression?

“The thought is that when the major changes of puberty are compressed into a shorter amount of time, adolescents don’t have enough time to acclimate, so they’re not emotionally or socially ready for all the changes that happen,” said Marceau.

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