While early onset of puberty among girls has been related to substance use involvement and other adverse outcomes, less research has examined pubertal development and outcomes in boys. Further, research on puberty has not been conducted in the context of other risk factors for substance use involvement such as impulsivity. To address these gaps, this study characterized boys’ pubertal development from preadolescence to mid adolescence and related it to substance use risk and behavioral impulsivity.
A sample of 153 boys completed the Pubertal Development Scale to assess perception of their pubertal development relative to same-age peers from ages 10 to 16 years, at 6-month intervals. Group-based trajectory modeling identified 3 distinct patterns of pubertal development: boys with much slower development earlier (n=54) or later (n=43) pubertal timing, and boys with faster tempo of pubertal development (n=56). The groups were compared on demographic and substance use risk characteristics, as well as behavioral measures of impulsivity.
Boys who had the accelerated progression through puberty had the highest proportion of family histories of substance use disorder and perform more impulsively on reward choice measures.
Outcomes are consistent within the Maturation Compression Hypothesis and social neuroscience models of adolescent developmental risk.
Departments of *Psychiatry
‡Epidemiology and Biostatistics
§Research Imaging Institute, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
†Department of Psychology, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg
Supported by the National Institutes of Health under award numbers R01 DA026868, R01 DA033997, R01 MH081181, and T32 DA031115.
The content is solely the view of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institutes of Health.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Reprints: Donald M. Dougherty, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, NRLC MC 7793, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).