Assessment of Growth and Maturation in Female Athletes at a Single Point in Time

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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Growth and maturation may impact adolescent behavior and development of psychological disorders. Currently age at menarche is used as the primary marker of maturation, even though it occurs later than other indicators of growth such as peak height velocity (PHV). Maturity offset predicting age at PHV has not been validated in diverse samples. Anthropometric measures and self-reported age at menarche were obtained for 212 female athletes ages 11 to 16 years (M = 13.25). Shared variance between menarcheal age and estimated age at PHV (APHV) was small (R2 = 5.3%). Discriminant validity was established by classifying participants as pre- or post-PHV or menarche (X2 = 32.62, P < .0001). The Pearson’s correlation between chronological age and age at PHV (r = .69) was stronger than with age at menarche (r = .26). Making informed decisions about accounting for growth and maturation using estimated age at PHV are offered.

Gay is with the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Monsma and Torres-McGehee are with the Department of Physical Education University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Smith is with the Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. DeFreese is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

Address author correspondence to Jennifer Gay at jlgay@uga.edu.