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Research on the psychosocial aspects of maturational timing has not addressed the experience of the late-developing gymnast. Studies to date have used conceptual and timing frameworks incommensurate with the experience of the athlete who reaches puberty in late adolescence. The role of environmental influences, including the support group, in a gymnast’s experience of puberty is salient. In order for sports practitioners to help late maturing female gymnasts deal with their personal and physical development, a reconceptualization of the related psychosocial parameters is needed.
Gretchen E. Iversen, a former USGF Class I gymnast, is a junior in the Department of Sociology at Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.
I would like to acknowledge Walter Quevedo, Gregory Elliott, Mary Arnold, Rose Frisch, and two anonymous reviewers for comments on previous drafts.