Pubertal maturation and cortisol level in response to a novel social environment among female adolescents

Heidemarie Blumenthal, Ellen W. Leen-Feldner, Christal L. Badour, Casey D. Trainor, Kimberly A. Babson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Research indicates changes in HPA-axis activity across puberty. The current study extends existing work by evaluating pubertal status and cortisol level in a novel social environment (research laboratory) while controlling for several important biological, behavioral, and psychological variables. Participants were 30 girls (ages 9-16 years) from the United States. Pubertal status was assessed via the Pubertal Development Scale. Salivary samples were collected at laboratory-introduction and a matched at-home period; laboratory-introduction levels were regressed on basal cortisol levels to create standardized residual scores. After controlling for covariates, pubertal status was positively associated with residualized cortisol values. Findings indicate more advanced puberty related to greater cortisol response to the laboratory; data are discussed in terms of future research and building biopsychosocial models of the puberty-psychopathology linkage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-900
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Adolescence
  • Cortisol
  • Girls
  • HPA-axis
  • Puberty
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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