Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Dockray, S.
ACAMH Transitions & Youth Mental Health Conference
Pubertal transition and the development of self-perceived competencies.
Cork, Ireland
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
Background Pubertal stage and timing is associated with changes in self-esteem, particularly beliefs about physical appearance. The effects of pubertal timing on other perceived competencies is less well documented, although the biopsychosocial transition of adolescent and pubertal development may influence perceptions of the self through direct and indirect pathways. This study examines the associations between self-perceived competencies and pubertal processes. Method Participants (59 girls and 62 boys, aged 12 - 17) completed three measures of self-perceived competencies (Harter, 1982) at 6 month intervals. Measures of pubertal stage were determined in two ways; by hormonal indicators (testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, and estradiol) and by Tanner Staging. Tanner Stage was determined by self –report using images and by a trained Research Nurse. Results Age and past perceptions of scholastic competence predicted self-perceived scholastic competence for both boys and girls. For adolescent boys, perceptions of scholastic competence were also associated with pubertal timing. For girls and boys, self-reported Tanner Stage was significantly but non-linearly associated with social competence, after controlling for age and previous perceived competence. Conclusion In boys, but not in girls, pubertal timing may be a key factor in self-perceived competencies, and social competence may be associated with pubertal stage, which may confer higher vulnerability in mid-puberty. The role of pubertal timing and pubertal status in the evolution of self-perceived competence suggests interconnections between biological, social and psychological aspects are important in understanding the development of self-esteem.