Understanding Puberty and Its Measurement: Ideas for Research in a New Generation

Jane Mendle, Adriene M. Beltz, Rona Carter, Lorah D. Dorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The measurement of puberty is an intricate and precise task, requiring a match between participants’ developmental age and appropriate techniques to identify and capture variations in maturation. Much of the foundational work on puberty and its psychosocial correlates was conducted several decades ago. In this article, we review the biological foundation of puberty; the operationalization of puberty in statistical analyses; and strategies for considering diversity and social context in research to help researchers align measurement with meaningful conceptual questions. These three areas are particularly important, given new statistical techniques, greater awareness of individual variations in development, and key differences between past cohorts and youth coming of age today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-95
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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