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

Kansas State University, Манхэттен, Kansas, United States
Social Science & Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 07/2007; 64(12):2391-404. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.02.033
Source: PubMed


Previous research has shown that early maturing girls at age 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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 11 was associated with lower psychological well-being 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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Available from: Kirsten K Davison, Mar 12, 2014
    • "Studies investigating the impact of maturity timing on adolescent PA have yielded equivocal results. Whereas several studies have found early-maturing females to be less active (Davison et al., 2007; Riddoch et al., 2007; Cumming et al., 2011; Hearst et al., 2012; Hunter Smart et al., 2012), an equivalent number have observed no effect of maturity timing (Niven et al., 2007; Wickel & Eisenmann, 2007; Sherar et al., 2009; Gebremariam et al., 2012; Zitouni & Guinhouya, 2012), or, in one study, early-maturing girls to be more active (van Jaarsveld et al., 2007). Corresponding data for males is limited and even less conclusive. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined concurrent and prospective associations between objective measures of biological maturation, body composition and physical activity (PA) in adolescent males (n = 671) and females (n = 680). Participants born to women recruited to the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children birth cohort study were assessed at 11 and 13 years. Percentage of predicted adult stature was used as an estimate of biological maturation. PA and time sedentary was assessed over 7 consecutive days using Actigraph accelerometers. Body composition was assessed using whole-body DXA scans. At 11 and 13 years, maturity in males was inversely associated with accelerometer counts-per-minute (CPM) and time engaged in light PA, and positively associated with time sedentary. In females, maturity was inversely associated with accelerometer (CPM) at 11 but not 13 years. Adjusting for accelerometer wear times and corresponding activity levels at 11 years, maturity and percentage fat mass at 11 years did not predict any indices of PA or sedentary behavior in males or females at 13 years. Whereas advanced maturation in males is associated with less PA and more sedentary behavior at 11 and 13 years, maturity at 11 does not predict PA or sedentary behavior at 13 years in either sex.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
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    • "self-esteem and perceptions of competence when demonstrating both academic and physical ability (Marsh et al. 1995, Chanel et al. 2005). For many adolescent girls, this school transition is coupled with the transition from childhood to adolescence where the physical changes that occur, for example increase in body fat and breast development, may also impact self-perceptions and self-esteem in a physical setting (Monsma et al. 2006, Davison et al. 2007). There is a wealth of research available examining the school transitional period from an academic perspective (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this article, we adopted a narrative approach to understand the decrease in physical activity (PA) behaviour in adolescent girls during the transition from primary to secondary school in relation to their socio-cultural and embodied/ physical experiences. Fourteen adolescent girls were asked to tell their PA stories from their past whilst at primary school through to the present day whilst in secondary school. We adopted the analytical standpoint of a story analyst where the girls’ stories were used to examine the psychological processes that occur within the socio-cultural transition of their school environment and the embodiment transition from a child into a young woman. Our findings emphasised that the arena of physical education lessons provide a backdrop for a different identity (active identity) to be developed which contradicted with the socially acceptable stereotypical feminine identity. These competing identities for adolescent girls created narrative tension and enhanced psychological processes such as perceived competence and self-presentation. These were further shaped by the embodiment transition experienced. Important acknowledgement of the body as more than in its physical form needs to be understood as for many of these adolescent girls, the body held more meaning in their stories and influenced PA choices and behaviour.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise
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    • "Despite the mixed findings regarding the association between PA and the biological maturity of youth, a growing body of consistent data have shown that maturity clearly offsets the gender differences in PA among both preadolescents (Eaton & Yu 1989; Wickel et al. 2009; Drenowatz et al. 2010; Fairclough & Ridgers 2010) and adolescents (Thompson et al. 2003; Davison et al. 2007; Sherar et al. 2007; Wickel & Eisenmann 2007; Cumming et al. 2008, 2011; Machado Rodrigues et al. 2010). It is noteworthy that this observation remains outstandingly consistent whatever the indicator used for maturity (e.g. percentage of predicted adult height vs. pubertal development scale vs. predicted APHV) (Thompson et al. 2003; Davison et al. 2007; Cumming et al. 2008, 2011) and as PA is self-reported (Eaton & Yu 1989; Thompson et al. 2003; Cumming et al. 2008, 2011) or objectively measured (Davison et al. 2007; Sherar et al. 2007; Wickel & Eisenmann 2007; Wickel et al. 2009; Drenowatz et al. 2010; Fairclough & Ridgers 2010). In the current study, such an attenuation effect of maturity may be seen only with the sample-based maturity status (i.e. the raw APHV) but not with maturity status relative to sex (i.e. "
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    ABSTRACT: AimTo examine: (i) if maturity-related gender differences in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) depend on how maturity status is defined and measured; and (ii) the influence of maturity level on compliance with PA recommendations. Methods The study involved 253 children (139 boys) aged 9.9 0.9 years, with mean stature and weight of 1.39 0.08m and 35.8 +/- 8.8kg respectively. Their PA was evaluated using an Actigraph accelerometer (Model 7164). Maturity was assessed using the estimated age at peak height velocity (APHV) and a standardized APHV by gender (i.e. centred APHV). ResultsBoys engaged in significantly more MVPA than girls (P < 0.0001). There was a significant correlation between the centred APHV and MVPA in boys (r = 0.20; P = 0.016), but not in girls (r = 0.13; P = 0.155). An ancova controlling for the estimated APHV showed no significant interactions between gender and APHV, and the main effect of gender on MVPA was negated. Conversely, there was a significant main effect of APHV on MVPA (F-1,F-249 = 6.12; P = 0.014; (p) (2) = 0.024). Only 9.1% of children met the PA recommendations, including 14.4% of boys and 2.6% of girls (P < 0.01). This observation also applies in both pre-APHV (12.7% of boys vs. 2.4% of girls, P < 0.001) and post-APHV children (23.8% of boys vs. 3.4% of girls, P < 0.0001). No differences in PA guidelines were observed between pre-APHV and post-APHV children. Conclusions Among prepubescent children, the influence of biological maturity on gender differences in PA may be a function of how maturity status is determined. The most physically active prepubescent children were those who were on time according to APHV.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Child Care Health and Development
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