The process of maturation is continuous throughout childhood and adolescence. In a biological context, the effects of a child’s maturation might mask or be greater than the effects associated with exposure to exercise. Pediatric exercise scientists must therefore include an assessment of biological age in study designs so that the confounding effects of maturation can be controlled for. In order to understand how maturation can be assessed, it is important to appreciate that 1 year of chronological time is not equivalent to 1 year of biological time. Sex- and age-associated variations in the timing and tempo of biological maturation have long been recognized. This paper reviews some of the possible biological maturity indicators that the pediatric exercise scientist can use. As a result, we recommend that any of the methods discussed could be used for gender-specific comparisons. Gender-comparison studies should either use skeletal age or some form of somatic index.
Adam D. G. Baxter-Jones, Joey C. Eisenmann and Lauren B. Sherar
Joan E. Hunter Smart, Sean P. Cumming, Lauren B. Sherar, Martyn Standage, Helen Neville and Robert M. Malina
This study tested a mediated effects model of psychological and behavioral adaptation to puberty within the context of physical activity (PA).
Biological maturity status, physical self-concept, PA, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) were assessed in 222 female British year 7 to 9 pupils (mean age = 12.7 years, SD = .8).
Structural equation modeling using maximum likelihood estimation and bootstrapping procedures supported the hypothesized model. Maturation status was inversely related to perceptions of sport competence, body attractiveness, and physical condition; and indirectly and inversely related to physical self-worth, PA, and HRQoL. Examination of the bootstrap-generated bias-corrected confidence intervals representing the direct and indirect paths between suggested that physical self-concept partially mediated the relations between maturity status and PA, and maturity status and HRQoL.
Evidence supports the contention that perceptions of the physical self partially mediate relations maturity, PA, and HRQoL in adolescent females.
Lauren B. Sherar, Sean P. Cumming, Joey C. Eisenmann, Adam D.G. Baxter-Jones and Robert M. Malina
The decline in physical activity (PA) across adolescence is well established but influence of biological maturity on the process has been largely overlooked. This paper reviews the limited number of studies which examine the relationship between timing of biological maturity and PA. Results are generally inconsistent among studies. Other health-related behaviors are also considered in an effort to highlight the complexity of relationships between biological maturation and behavior and to provide future research directions.
Aristides M. Machado Rodrigues, Manuel J. Coelho e Silva, Jorge Mota, Sean P. Cumming, Lauren B. Sherar, Helen Neville and Robert M. Malina
Sex differences in physical activity (PA) through pubertal maturation and the growth spurt are often attributed to changing interests. The contribution of sex differences in biological maturation to the adolescent decline has received limited attention. This study examined the contribution of somatic maturation to sex differences in objective assessments of sedentary behavior and PA in Portuguese adolescents (N = 302, aged 13–16 years). Maturation was estimated from the percentage of predicted mature stature and physically active and inactive behaviors assessed with Actigraph GT1M accelerometers. The influence of age, sex and their interaction on body size, maturation and physical behaviors were examined using factorial ANOVA and, subsequently, ANCOVA (controlling for maturation) tested the effect of sex. Males spent more time in MVPA and less time in sedentary behavior than females. However, sex differences were attenuated when maturation was controlled; thus suggesting that maturity may play an important role in adolescent behaviors.