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Developmental Trajectories of Executive Functioning and Puberty in Boys and Girls

  • Natasha ChakuEmail author
  • Lindsay T. HoytEmail author
Empirical Research
  • 13 Downloads

Abstract

There are substantial changes in executive functioning during adolescence that may correspond with the onset and progression of puberty. The current study examines associations between pubertal development (timing and tempo) and changes in specific executive functioning skills (i.e., attention and self-control) across the transition from childhood to adolescence (ages 9.5–15.5) using data from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (1099 youth; 52% female, 81% White, 83% above the poverty line). The findings indicated that early maturation was associated with faster increases in attention skills over adolescence for both boys and girls. Further, early maturation predicted worse self-control among girls but not boys. This study provides new insights on executive functioning during the transition to adolescence—a period of both vulnerability and opportunity.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research uses data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (NICHD SECCYD), a longitudinal, multi-site prospective project directed by a steering committee and funded through a series of cooperative agreements (U10s and a U01). We thank the principal investigators and families who participated in this study. Information on how to obtain the SECCYD data files is available on the NICHD SECCYD website (https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/series/00233). No direct support was received from NICHD for this analysis and the views expressed in this article are the authors alone. The authors also gratefully acknowledge feedback from Dr. Terri Sabol (Northwestern University) and Dr. Ann Higgins (Fordham University) on early drafts of this manuscript.

Authors’ Contributions

NC and LTH conceived of the study. NC performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript; LTH oversaw and provided feedback on the statistical analysis and helped draft and edit the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All research reported on in the manuscript was conducted in compliance with APA ethical principles. The study consisted of secondary analyses of de-identified data, and therefore did not require formal consent or ethics board approval.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFordham UniversityBronxUSA

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