The Psychological Significance of Pubertal Change

Sex Differences in Perceptions of Self during Early Adolescence
  • Maryse H. Tobin-Richards
  • Andrew M. Boxer
  • Anne C. Petersen


Pubertal changes involve a rather dramatic set of events with regard to their rate and magnitude (Petersen and Taylor, 1980), particularly when compared to other biological events through the life cycle. Studies across the life course sensitize us to the fact that when life changes are too rapid or extreme, multiple and simultaneous, or unusually timed, individuals are subjected to varied and extreme challenges of coping with their situations. Such evidence comes to us from studies of adolescence (Coleman, 1980; Simmons, Blyth, Van Cleave, and Bush, 1979), the transition to adulthood (Coleman, et al., 1974; Neugarten and Hagestad, 1976; Hogan, 1978), middle age (Brim, 1976a; Cohler and Boxer, 1983), and old age (Lieberman, 1975; Seltzer, 1976). Individuals need some degree of control and social support to effectively negotiate life changes, and such capacities vary according to the events themselves, their transformative qualities (Brim and Ryff, 1980; Hultsch and Plemons, 1979), and individual coping styles and life cycle position. Thus, young adolescents’ confrontations with the challenges of pubertal change provide a natural testing ground for understanding (1) the nature of a set of biologically paced life events, (2) the ways in which these are negotiated, and (3) their psychosocial impact upon development.


Body Image Young Adolescent Pubertal Development Physical Attractiveness Breast 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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryse H. Tobin-Richards
    • 1
  • Andrew M. Boxer
    • 1
  • Anne C. Petersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Research Training Program in Adolescence, Laboratory for the Study of Adolescence, Department of Psychiatry, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center; and Committee on Human DevelopmentThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Individual and Family Studies, College of Human DevelopmentThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUSA

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