The Social and Psychological Effects of Puberty on White Females

  • Roberta G. Simmons
  • Dale A. Blyth
  • Karen L. McKinney


There is general consensus that adolescence is an important stage in the life cycle. It is certainly a period of dramatic physical, emotional, and social changes. However, whether it is also a time of stress and disturbance is an issue of controversy (Douvan and Adelson, 1966; Douvan and Gold, 1966; Bealer, Willits, and Maida, 1969; Offer, 1969; Bandura, 1972). Furthermore, it is unclear what the contribution of the phyical changes of puberty is in exacerbating or alleviating whatever stress occurs at this age (see Eichorn, 1963; Clausen, 1975). The present study focuses on the latter problem, in particular on the impact of pubertal development on a wide variety of social-emotional reactions of the adolescent girl. To be investigated are the effects of pubertal change on the girl’s self-concept and on many of her behaviors, values, and attitudes.


Body Image Psychological Effect Grade Point Average Sixth Grade Pubertal Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aldous, J. Family careers: Developmental change in families. New York: Wiley, 1978.Google Scholar
  2. Ames, R. Physical maturing among boys as related to adult social behavior. California Journal of Educational Research, 1957, 8, 69–75.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. The stormy decade: Fact or fiction. In D. Rogers (Ed.), Issues in adolescent psychology. 2d ed. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1972.Google Scholar
  4. Bealer, R. C., Willits, F., and Maida, P. R. The rebellious youth sub-culture—a myth. In D. Rogers (Ed.), Issues in adolescent psychology. 1st ed. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1969.Google Scholar
  5. Benedict, R. Continuities and discontinuities in cultural conditioning. In W. E. Martin and C. B. Stendler (Eds.), Reading in child development. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Joyanovich, 1954.Google Scholar
  6. Blyth, D. A. Continuities and discontinuities during the transition into adolescence: A longitudinal comparison of two school structures. Doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1977. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1977, 38, 1323A. (University Microfilms No. 77–18, 958 ).Google Scholar
  7. Blyth, D. A., Simmons, R. G., and Bush, D. The transition into early adolescence: A longitudinal comparison of youth in two educational contexts. Sociology of Education, 1978, 51, 149–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blyth, D. A., Thiel, K. S., Bush, D. M., and Simmons, R. G. Another look at school crime: Student as victim. Youth and Society, 1980, 11, 369–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blyth, D. A., Simmons, R. G., Bulcroft, R., Felt, D., Van Cleave, E. F., and Bush, D. M. The effects of physical development on self-image and satisfaction with body-image for early adolescent males. In R. G. Simmons (Ed.), Research in community and mental health. Vol. 2. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1981.Google Scholar
  10. Bush, D. E., Simmons, R. G., Hutchinson, B., and Blyth, D. A. Adolescent perception of sex roles in 1968 and 1975. Public Opinion Quarterly1977–1978 41459–474. Google Scholar
  11. Clausen, J. A. The social meaning of differential physical and sexual maturation. In S. E. Dragastin and G. H. Elder, Jr. (Eds.), Adolescence in the life cycle: Psychological change and social context. Washington, D.C.: Hemisphere, 1975.Google Scholar
  12. Dornbusch, S., Carlsmith, J. M., Gross, R. T., Martin, J. A., Jennings, D., Rosenberg, A., and Duke, P. Sexual development, age and dating: A comparison of biological and social influences upon one set of behaviors. Child Development, 1981, 52, 179–185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Douglas, J. W. B., and Ross, J. M. Age of puberty related to educational ability, attainment and school leaving age. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1964, 5, 185–196.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Douvan, E., and Adelson, J. The adolescent experience. New York: Wiley, 1966.Google Scholar
  15. Douvan, E., and Gold, M. Modal patterns in American adolescence. In L. W. Hoffman and M. L. Hoffman (Eds.), Review of child development research. Vol. 2. New York: Russell Sage, 1966.Google Scholar
  16. Dwyer, J., and Mayer, J. Psychological effects of variations in physical appearance during adolescence. Adolescence, 1968–1969, 3, 353–380.Google Scholar
  17. Eichorn, D. H. Biological correlates of behavior. In H. Stevenson (Ed.), The Sixty-Second Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Child Psychology Pt. 1, 1963, 62, 4–61.Google Scholar
  18. Erikson, E. H. Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton, 1968.Google Scholar
  19. Faust, M. S. Development maturity as a determinant in prestige of adolescent girls. Child Development, 1960, 31, 173–184.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Faust, M. S. Somatic development of adolescent girls. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development,1977, 42(Serial No. 169).Google Scholar
  21. Ford, R. N. A rapid scoring procedure for scaling attitude questions. Public Opinion Quarterly, 1950, 14, 507–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Freeman, F. N. Intellectual growth of children as indicated by repeated tests. Psychology Monograph, 1936, 47, 20–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Glass, G. V., Peckham, P. D., and Sanders, J. R. Consequences of failure to meet assumptions underlying the fixed effects of analyses of variance and covariance. Review of Educational Research, 1972, 43, 237–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gold, M., and Tomlin, P. Skeletal and chronological age in adolescent development. Mimeographed manuscript, 1975. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  25. Hall, G. S. Adolescence: Its psychology and its relations to physiology, anthropology, sociology, sex, crime, religion and education. Vol. I and II. New York: D. Appleton, 1904.Google Scholar
  26. Havighurst, R. J. Human development and education. New York: Longmans, Green, 1953.Google Scholar
  27. James, W. The principles of psychology. New York: Dover, 1950. (Copyright 1890 by Henry Holt).Google Scholar
  28. Jessor, R., and lessor, S. Problem behavior and psychosocial development: A longitudinal study. New York: Academic Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  29. Jones, M. C. Psychological correlates of somatic development. Child Development, 1965, 36, 899–911.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jones, M. C., and Bayley, N. Physical maturing among boys as related to behavior. Journal of Educational Psychology, 1950, 41, 129–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jones, M. C., and Mussen, P. H. Self-conceptions, motivations, and interpersonal attitudes of early and late-maturing girls. Child Development, 1958, 29, 491–501.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Jones, M. C., Bayley, N., MacFarlane, J. W. and Honzik, M. P. (Eds.). The course of human development. Waltham, MA: Xerox College Publishing, 1971.Google Scholar
  33. Livson, N., and Peskin, H. Perspectives on adolescence from longitudinal research. In J. Adelson (Ed.), Handbook of adolescent psychology. New York: Wiley, 1980.Google Scholar
  34. MacFarlane, J. W. The impact of early and late maturation in boys and girls: Illustrations from life records of individuals. In M. C. Jones, N. Bayley, J. W. MacFarlane and M. Honzik (Eds.), The course of human development. Waltham, MA: Xerox College Publishing, 1971, pp. 426–433.Google Scholar
  35. Mussen, P. H. and Jones, M. C. Self-conceptions, motivations and interpersonal attitudes of late and early-maturing boys. Child Development, 1957, 28, 243–256.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Nisbet, J. D., Illsley, R., Sutherland, A. E. and Douse, M. J. Puberty and test performance: A further report. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 1964, 34, 202–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Offer, D. The psychological world of the teenager. New York: Basic Books, 1969.Google Scholar
  38. Peskin, H. Influence of the developmental schedule of puberty on learning and ego functioning. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1973, 2, 273–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Peskin, H., and Livson, N. Pre-and post pubertal personality and adult psychological functioning. Seminars in Psychiatry, 1972, 4, 343–353.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Petersen, A. C., and Taylor, B. Puberty: Biological change and psychological adaptation. In J. Adelson (Ed.), Handbook of adolescent psychology. New York: Wiley, 1980.Google Scholar
  41. Poppleton, P. K. Puberty, family size and the educational progress of girls. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 1968, 38, 286–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rosenberg, F., and Simmons, R. G. Sex differences in the self-concept in adolescence. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 1975, 1, 147–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rosenberg, M. Psychological selectivity in self-esteem formation. In C. Sherif and M.Google Scholar
  44. Sherif (Eds.), Attitudes, ego-involvement and change. New York: Wiley, 1967.Google Scholar
  45. Simmons, R. G., and Rosenberg, F. Sex, sex-roles and self-image. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1975, 4, 229–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Simmons, R. G., Rosenberg, F., and Rosenberg, M. Disturbance in the self-image at adolescence. American Sociological Review, 1973, 38, 553–568.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Simmons, R. G., Brown, L., Bush, D. M., and Blyth, D. A. Self-esteem and achievement of black and white early adolescents. Social Problems, 1978, 26, 86–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Simmons, R. G., Blyth, D. A., Van Cleave, E. F., and Bush, D. M. Entry into early adolescence: The impact of school structure, puberty, and early dating on self-esteem. American Sociological Review, 1979, 44, 948–967.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Simmons, R. G., Blyth, D., Bulcroft, R., and McKinney, K. L. The impact of puberty on adolescents: A longitudinal study. Paper presented at the 1981 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, April 2–5, 1981.Google Scholar
  50. Stolz, H. R., and Stolz, L. M. Adolescent problems related to somatic variation. In N. B. Henry (Ed.), Adolescence: 43rd yearbook of the national committee for the study of education. Pt. 1. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944.Google Scholar
  51. Stone, C. P., and Barker, R. G. Aspects of personality and intelligence in post menarcheal and premenarcheal girls of the same chronological ages. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 1937, 23, 439–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wilson, E. O. On human nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1978.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta G. Simmons
    • 1
  • Dale A. Blyth
    • 2
  • Karen L. McKinney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations