Why are early maturing girls less active? Links between pubertal development, psychological well-being, and physical activity among girls at ages 11 and 13

Davison, K. K., Werder, J. L., Trost, Stewart G., Baker, B. L., & Birch, L. L. (2007) Why are early maturing girls less active? Links between pubertal development, psychological well-being, and physical activity among girls at ages 11 and 13. Social Science & Medicine, 64(12), pp. 2391-2404.

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that early maturing girls at age I I have lower subsequent physical activity at age 13 in comparison to later maturing girls. Possible reasons for this association have not been assessed. This study examines girls' psychological response to puberty and their enjoyment of physical activity as intermediary factors linking pubertal maturation and physical activity. Participants included 178 girls who were assessed at age 11, of whom 168 were reassessed at age 13. All participants were non-Hispanic white and resided in the US. Three measures of pubertal development were obtained at age I I including Tanner breast stage, estradiol levels, and mothers' reports of girls' development on the Pubertal Development Scale (PDS). Measures of psychological well-being at ages I I and 13 included depression, global self-worth, perceived athletic competence, maturation fears, and body esteem. At age 13, girls' enjoyment of physical activity was assessed using the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale and their daily minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were assessed using objective monitoring. Structural Equation Modeling was used to assess direct and indirect pathways between pubertal development at age I I and MVPA at age 13. In addition to a direct effect of pubertal development on MVPA, indirect effects were found for depression, global self-worth and maturity fears controlling for covariates. In each instance, more advanced pubertal development at age I I was associated with lower psychological wellbeing at age 13, which predicted lower enjoyment of physical activity at age 13 and in turn lower MVPA. Results from this study suggest that programs designed to increase physical activity among adolescent girls should address the self-consciousness and discontent that girls' experience with their bodies during puberty, particularly if they mature earlier than their peers, and identify activities or settings that make differences in body shape less conspicuous.

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75 citations in Scopus
69 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 72506
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: USA, adolescent girls, physical activity, puberty, psychological health, depression, well-being, x-ray absorptiometry, soft-tissue composition, middle-school girls, adolescent girls, body-image, activity intervention, mental-health, nhlbi growth, self-concept, white girls
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.02.033
ISSN: 0277-9536
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Deposited On: 03 Jun 2014 02:04
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:01

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