Correspondence Between Perceived Pubertal Development and Hormone Levels in 9-10 Year-Olds From the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study

Megan M. Herting, Kristina A. Uban, Marybel Robledo Gonzalez, Fiona C. Baker, Eric C. Kan, Wesley K. Thompson, Douglas A. Granger, Matthew D. Albaugh, Andrey P. Anokhin, Kara S. Bagot, Marie T. Banich, Deanna M. Barch, Arielle Baskin-Sommers, Florence J. Breslin, B. J. Casey, Bader Chaarani, Linda Chang, Duncan B. Clark, Christine C. Cloak, R. Todd ConstableLinda B. Cottler, Rada K. Dagher, Mirella Dapretto, Anthony S. Dick, Nico Dosenbach, Gayathri J. Dowling, Julie A. Dumas, Sarah Edwards, Thomas Ernst, Damien A. Fair, Sarah W. Feldstein-Ewing, Edward G. Freedman, Bernard F. Fuemmeler, Hugh Garavan, Dylan G. Gee, Jay N. Giedd, Paul E.A. Glaser, Aimee Goldstone, Kevin M. Gray, Samuel W. Hawes, Andrew C. Heath, Mary M. Heitzeg, John K. Hewitt, Charles J. Heyser, Elizabeth A. Hoffman, Rebekah S. Huber, Marilyn A. Huestis, Luke W. Hyde, M. Alejandra Infante, Masha Y. Ivanova, Joanna Jacobus, Terry L. Jernigan, Nicole R. Karcher, Angela R. Laird, Kimberly H. LeBlanc, Krista Lisdahl, Monica Luciana, Beatriz Luna, Hermine H. Maes, Andrew T. Marshall, Michael J. Mason, Erin C. McGlade, Amanda S. Morris, Bonnie J. Nagel, Gretchen N. Neigh, Clare E. Palmer, Martin P. Paulus, Alexandra S. Potter, Leon I. Puttler, Nishadi Rajapakse, Kristina Rapuano, Gloria Reeves, Perry F. Renshaw, Claudiu Schirda, Kenneth J. Sher, Chandni Sheth, Paul D. Shilling, Lindsay M. Squeglia, Matthew T. Sutherland, Susan F. Tapert, Rachel L. Tomko, Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, Natasha E. Wade, Susan R.B. Weiss, Robert A. Zucker, Elizabeth R. Sowell

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45 Scopus citations


Aim: To examine individual variability between perceived physical features and hormones of pubertal maturation in 9–10-year-old children as a function of sociodemographic characteristics. Methods: Cross-sectional metrics of puberty were utilized from the baseline assessment of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study—a multi-site sample of 9–10 year-olds (n = 11,875)—and included perceived physical features via the pubertal development scale (PDS) and child salivary hormone levels (dehydroepiandrosterone and testosterone in all, and estradiol in females). Multi-level models examined the relationships among sociodemographic measures, physical features, and hormone levels. A group factor analysis (GFA) was implemented to extract latent variables of pubertal maturation that integrated both measures of perceived physical features and hormone levels. Results: PDS summary scores indicated more males (70%) than females (31%) were prepubertal. Perceived physical features and hormone levels were significantly associated with child’s weight status and income, such that more mature scores were observed among children that were overweight/obese or from households with low-income. Results from the GFA identified two latent factors that described individual differences in pubertal maturation among both females and males, with factor 1 driven by higher hormone levels, and factor 2 driven by perceived physical maturation. The correspondence between latent factor 1 scores (hormones) and latent factor 2 scores (perceived physical maturation) revealed synchronous and asynchronous relationships between hormones and concomitant physical features in this large young adolescent sample. Conclusions: Sociodemographic measures were associated with both objective hormone and self-report physical measures of pubertal maturation in a large, diverse sample of 9–10 year-olds. The latent variables of pubertal maturation described a complex interplay between perceived physical changes and hormone levels that hallmark sexual maturation, which future studies can examine in relation to trajectories of brain maturation, risk/resilience to substance use, and other mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number549928
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2021


  • adolescent brain cognitive development
  • dehydroepiandrosterone
  • estradiol
  • pubertal development scale
  • puberty
  • salivary hormones
  • testosterone


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