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SAMHSA awards $12.2M in grants to train behavioral health care providers

September 12, 2019

"The thought is that when the major changes of puberty are compressed into a shorter amount of time, adolescents don't have enough time to acclimate, so they're not emotionally or socially ready for all the changes that happen," said Marceau. "This is the explanation that originally was attributed solely to early timing, but we suggest that the same thing also is happening if the rate of puberty is compressed."

According to Susman, timing and tempo of puberty vary dramatically across kids. "Children are extremely sensitive to how fast or slow other kids are going through puberty, and that may contribute to both the internalizing depression-type problems or the externalizing problems of acting out," she said.

In the future, Susman plans to examine the effects of tempo of puberty on later women's health problems. "One of the things that has concerned me over the years is the relationship between early puberty and later women's health problems," she said. "Specifically, there is some indication that early timing of puberty relates to more reproductive cancers, with the speculated mechanism being estradiol. If you're an early maturer, you have a longer exposure to this hormone. The question is whether the tempo of puberty has similar implications for women's health."

Source: Penn State