Twin studies of puberty and behavior

Holly T. Pham, Adriene M. Beltz, Robin P. Corley, Sheri A. Berenbaum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Variations in pubertal development are linked to psychological and physical health. Twin studies provide information about genetic and environmental influences on variations in pubertal development and on links between puberty and behavior. After describing the processes involved in pubertal development and issues in measuring it, we consider the properties of an ideal twin study of puberty. We then discuss existing twin studies of pubertal development in terms of methodology and findings of genetic and environmental influences on pubertal variations, links between puberty and internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, and sex differences in heritability and puberty–behavior links. Generally, there are strong genetic influences on pubertal timing and links between puberty and disordered eating in girls, but puberty moderates genetic and environmental influences on depression and some externalizing behaviors in both sexes. We conclude by considering opportunities for using twin data to increase understanding of puberty and its consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTwin Research for Everyone
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Biology to Health, Epigenetics, and Psychology
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780128215142
ISBN (Print)9780128215159
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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