The science of puberty

Purdue Human Development and Family Studies researcher examines bibliographic data on puberty research—a critical period of biological and social development.

Today’s puberty research is not just about endocrinology and metabolism, pediatrics and reproductive biology. According to a new study, the topics most written about include age, gender issues and obesity, and diabetes. Combining those traditional foundations with new topics, researchers are now aware of including puberty topics in developmental research, as well as expanding interdisciplinary research.

Purdue University assistant professor Kristine Marceau of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences researches gene-environment interplay, prenatal experiences, physiological responses to stress, pubertal development, parenting and parent-child relationships, development of behavior problems and substance use. She recently was the lead author for “Puberty in the Last 25 Years: A Retrospective Bibliometric Analysis.” The article appeared in a special section on puberty in a special edition of the Journal of Research on Adolescence. Jane Yatcilla, an associate professor of libraries at Purdue, and Savannah Hottle, a student, contributed to the article.

“Puberty is a major biological change that happens at a time in life when there are also a lot of social changes. There is no other life period that is marked by so much change happening so quickly when the actual individual is aware of it and able to shape their thoughts and behaviors because of it. It is important to better understand both the biological and social changes that happen during puberty in order to understand how​ development affects different mental health, academic and physical health outcomes.”

About Kristine Marceau


Puberty in the Last 25 Years: A Retrospective Bibliometric Analysis

Kristine Marceau, Savannah Hottle and Jane Kinkus Yatcilla

Puberty research has been highly productive in the past few decades and is gaining momentum. We conducted an analysis of bibliographic data, including titles, abstracts, keywords, indexing terms, and citation data to assess the sheer numbers, audience and reach, publication types, and impact of puberty-related publications. Findings suggest that puberty-related publications are increasing in sheer numbers, and have reach in many fields as befits an interdisciplinary science. Puberty-related publications typically have higher impact in terms of citations than the journal averages, among the journals that published the most studies on puberty. Limitations of the field and recommendations for researchers to improve the impact and reach of puberty-related publications (e.g., clear conclusions in abstracts, highlighting the importance of puberty) are discussed.

Puberty in the Last 25 Years: A Retrospective Bibliometric Analysis – Marceau – 2019 – Journal of Research on Adolescence – Wiley Online Library