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Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Puberty, Health, and Biological Foundations

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PSYC 355
Martin Davidson

PSYC 355 Book Notes Chapter 2: Puberty, Health, and Biological Foundations PUBERTY Determinants of Puberty - Heredity - Hormones – powerful chemicals secreted by the endocrine glands and carried through the body by the bloodstream o Androgen – the main class of male sex hormones  Testosterone – associated with genital development, increase in height, and voice changes o Estrogen – the main class of female sex hormones  Estradiol – associated with breast development, uterine development, and skeletal changes o The Endocrine System  Puberty onset involves the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis • Hypothalamus – monitors eating, drinking, and sex • Pituitary gland – controls growth and regulates other glands • Gonads – sex organs  Pituitary gland sends message to the testes or ovaries to manufacture the hormone; interaction with hypothalamus and pituitary to determine when optimal levels of hormones have been reached and maintains it with additional gonadotropin secretions  Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – stimulates follicle development in females and sperm reproduction in males  Lutenizing hormone (LH) – regulates estrogen secretion and ovum development in women and testosterone production in males  Negative feedback system • If level of sex hormones too high, then the hypothalamus and pituitary gland reduce their stimulation of the gonads • If level of sex hormones too low, then the hypothalamus and pituitary gland increase the production of the sex hormones o Growth Hormones  Thyroid gland  At the beginning of puberty, growth hormone is secreted at night  Later on in puberty, also released during the daytime, but in low levels o Adrenarche – involves hormonal changes in the adrenal glands  Starts at age 6-9 in girls, and a year later in boys o Gonadarche – involves the maturation of primary and secondary sexual characteristics  Follows adrenarche by two years  Menarche – first menstrual period  Spermarche -- boys first ejaculation of semen - Weight, Body Fat, and Leptin o Higher weight is linked toearly pubertal development o For menarche to occur, a girl needs a minimum of 17% body fat o Leptin – may signal beginning and progression of puberty  Related to the amount of fat in girls  Related to the amount of androgen in boys - Weight at birth and infancy o Low birth weight girls menarche approximately 5 to 10 months earlier than normal birth weight girls o Low birth weight boys are at risk for small testicular volume during adolescence - Sociocultural and environmental factors o Adolescents in developed countries and urban areas reach puberty earlier than their counterparts un less developed countries and more rural areas o African American females and males enter puberty earlier than Latino/a counterparts o Early experiences linked to earlier pubertal onset  Adoption, father absence, low socioeconomic status, family conflict, maternal harshness, child maltreatment, and early substance use Growth Spurt - Peak of pubertal change in girls is at 11.5 years of age - Peak of pubertal change in boys is at 13.5 years of age - Boys and girls who are shorter or taller than their peers before adolescence are likely to remain so during adolescence - Rate at which adolescents gain weight follows approximately the same developmental time table as the rate at which they gain height Sexual Maturation - Boys’ genital development preceded their pubic development by about 4 months - In females, breast development occurs first, followed by the appearance of pubic hair, and then the armpits - Hips become wider than shoulders in females - Precocious puberty – very early onset and rapid progression of puberty o Occurs before 8 years of age in girls, and 9 years of age in boys o Occurs approximately 10 times more often in girls than in boys o Usually treated by suppressing gonadotropic secretions, which temporarily stops pubertal change o Likely to have short stature, early sexual capability, and potenttial for enggaging in age- inappropriate behavior Secular Trends in Puberty - Secular trends – patterns of the onset of puberty over historical time, especially across generations - In 1850s, puberty started at 17 years of age in girls - 1970s, puberty starts at 13 years old for girls - Earlier arrival of pubertal onset historically is believed to be due to improved health and nutrition - Early puberty seems to occur in overweight girls - Obesity delays pubertal onset in boys Psychological Dimensions of Puberty - Body Image o Adolescents preoccupied with their bodies - Gender differences Females Males - Girls less happy with their bodies - Boys more satisfied perhaps because perhaps because of increase in body fat their muscle mass increase - More negative body images - Placed higher aesthetic value on body image but had lower aesthetic satisfaction - Body Art – i.e. tattoos and piercings o Engage in these activities to be different, two stamp their identity as unique o 60% of students with tattoos had academic grades of A’s and B’s (Armstrong, 1995) o Average age of first tattoo – 14 years old o Marker for risk taking in adolescence (especially if one has multiple tattoos or piercings) o Increasingly used to express individuality and self-expression rather than rebellion - Hormones and Behavior o In boys, higher levels of androgens are associated with violence and acting-out problems o In girls, increased estrogen levels are associated with depression o Social factors are a bigger factor than hormones in girls’ depression and anger o Hormones do not function independently; it is influenced by many environmental factors - Early and Late Maturation o Early-maturing boys perceived themselves more positively and had more successful peer relati
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