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

Herting MM, Uban KA, Gonzalez MR, Baker FC, Kan EC, Thompson WK, Granger DA, Albaugh MD, Anokhin AP, Bagot KS, Banich MT, Barch DM, Baskin-Sommers A, Breslin FJ, Casey BJ, Chaarani B, Chang L, Clark DB, Cloak CC, Constable RT, Cottler LB, Dagher RK, Dapretto M, Dick AS, Dosenbach N, Dowling GJ, Dumas JA, Edwards S, Ernst T, Fair DA, Feldstein-Ewing SW, Freedman EG, Fuemmeler BF, Garavan H, Gee DG, Giedd JN, Glaser PEA, Goldstone A, Gray KM, Hawes SW, Heath AC, Heitzeg MM, Hewitt JK, Heyser CJ, Hoffman EA, Huber RS, Huestis MA, Hyde LW, Infante MA, Ivanova MY, Jacobus J, Jernigan TL, Karcher NR, Laird AR, LeBlanc KH, Lisdahl K, Luciana M, Luna B, Maes HH, Marshall AT, Mason MJ, McGlade EC, Morris AS, Nagel BJ, Neigh GN, Palmer CE, Paulus MP, Potter AS, Puttler LI, Rajapakse N, Rapuano K, Reeves G, Renshaw PF, Schirda C, Sher KJ, Sheth C, Shilling PD, Squeglia LM, Sutherland MT, Tapert SF, Tomko RL, Yurgelun-Todd D, Wade NE, Weiss SRB, Zucker RA, Sowell ER, Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 11 (2021).


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.