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Validity of Self-Report Measures of Girls' Pubertal Status

J. Brooks-Gunn, Michelle P. Warren, James Rosso and Janine Gargiulo
Child Development
Vol. 58, No. 3 (Jun., 1987), pp. 829-841
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130220
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130220
Page Count: 13
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Validity of Self-Report Measures of Girls' Pubertal Status
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Abstract

To understand the meaning of somatic changes to the adolescent and their possible effects on behavior, developmentalists have begun to examine maturational timing and status in detail. Efforts have been hampered by the necessity of obtaining somatic growth data by physician examination. In the present study, 3 self-report methods for rating secondary sexual characteristic growth were compared to physician ratings; the accuracy of self-reported height and weight also was assessed. Specifically, 151 11-, 12-, and 13-year-old girls rated their breast and pubic hair development using schematics of the 5 Tanner stages and filled out the Pubertal Development Scale (PDS); their mothers also rated their daughters' development using the Tanner stage schematics. The correlation with physician Tanner ratings was .82 for self-ratings, .85 for ratings by the mother, and between .61 and .67 for self-reports on the PDS. The correlations for self- and actual reports of weight and height were .98 and .75, respectively. The usefulness of the PDS, Tanner ratings, and self-reported height and weight as adequate estimates of pubertal development is discussed.

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