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Methods for determining pubertal status in research studies: literature review and opinions of experts and adolescents

Methods for determining pubertal status in research studies: literature review and opinions of experts and adolescents
Methods for determining pubertal status in research studies: literature review and opinions of experts and adolescents

In lifecourse studies that encompass the adolescent period, the assessment of pubertal status is important, but can be challenging. We aimed to identify current methods for pubertal assessment and assess their appropriateness for population-based research by combining a review of the literature with the views of experts in the field. We searched bibliographic databases, extracted data and assessed study quality to inform a workshop with 21 experts. Acceptability of different approaches was explored with a panel of ten adolescents. We screened 11,935 abstracts, assessed 157 articles and summarised results from 38 articles. Combining these with the opinions of experts, self-assessment was found to be a practical method for use in studies where agreement with the gold standard of clinical assessment by physical examination to within one Tanner stage was acceptable. Serial measures of height and foot size accurately indicated timing of the pubertal growth spurt and age at peak height velocity, and were seen as feasible within longitudinal studies. Hormonal and radiological methods did not offer a practical means of assessing pubertal status. Assessment of voice maturation was promising, but needed validation. Young people thought that self-assessment, foot size and voice assessments were acceptable, and preferred an assessor of the same sex for clinical assessment. This review thus informs researchers working in lifecourse and adolescent health, and identifies future directions in order to improve validity of the methods.

adolescence, pubertal assessment, pubertal status, Puberty, Tanner stages
2040-1744
Walker, I. V.
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Smith, C. R.
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Davies, J. H.
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Inskip, H. M.
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Baird, J.
f4bf2039-6118-436f-ab69-df8b4d17f824
Walker, I. V.
7921e14d-9a65-4403-a2de-1f16193267c9
Smith, C. R.
7f81f97a-f9dd-4cda-b2b3-a3a8885fe9a0
Davies, J. H.
9ddd0b16-9fda-44db-9b96-f1216317198d
Inskip, H. M.
5fb4470a-9379-49b2-a533-9da8e61058b7
Baird, J.
f4bf2039-6118-436f-ab69-df8b4d17f824

Walker, I. V., Smith, C. R., Davies, J. H., Inskip, H. M. and Baird, J. (2019) Methods for determining pubertal status in research studies: literature review and opinions of experts and adolescents. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. (doi:10.1017/S2040174419000254).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In lifecourse studies that encompass the adolescent period, the assessment of pubertal status is important, but can be challenging. We aimed to identify current methods for pubertal assessment and assess their appropriateness for population-based research by combining a review of the literature with the views of experts in the field. We searched bibliographic databases, extracted data and assessed study quality to inform a workshop with 21 experts. Acceptability of different approaches was explored with a panel of ten adolescents. We screened 11,935 abstracts, assessed 157 articles and summarised results from 38 articles. Combining these with the opinions of experts, self-assessment was found to be a practical method for use in studies where agreement with the gold standard of clinical assessment by physical examination to within one Tanner stage was acceptable. Serial measures of height and foot size accurately indicated timing of the pubertal growth spurt and age at peak height velocity, and were seen as feasible within longitudinal studies. Hormonal and radiological methods did not offer a practical means of assessing pubertal status. Assessment of voice maturation was promising, but needed validation. Young people thought that self-assessment, foot size and voice assessments were acceptable, and preferred an assessor of the same sex for clinical assessment. This review thus informs researchers working in lifecourse and adolescent health, and identifies future directions in order to improve validity of the methods.

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Walker-pubertal-assessment-10apr19 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 10 April 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 June 2019
Keywords: adolescence, pubertal assessment, pubertal status, Puberty, Tanner stages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 432373
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/432373
ISSN: 2040-1744
PURE UUID: 8fc70753-58ce-43ec-baa1-75952cf8c2c4
ORCID for H. M. Inskip: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8897-1749
ORCID for J. Baird: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4039-4361

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Jul 2019 16:30
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 07:32

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Contributors

Author: I. V. Walker
Author: C. R. Smith
Author: J. H. Davies
Author: H. M. Inskip ORCID iD
Author: J. Baird ORCID iD

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