Psychology, behaviour, and the family environment in children with diagnoses of precocious pubertal development

Clarkson, Emma Louise (2014). Psychology, behaviour, and the family environment in children with diagnoses of precocious pubertal development. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The aim of the thesis was to identify whether children with a diagnosis of Premature Adrenarche (PA) or Central Precocious Puberty (CPP) presented with an atypical psychological profile in comparison to typically-developing children. A battery of psychometrics was constructed to study several domains, including eating behaviour, self-perception and intellectual ability. Measures of family environment and parental stress were also included. In addition, an interpretative phenomenological analysis was conducted on five interviews with parents to gain a greater insight into the experience of parenting a child with a diagnosis of early puberty. It was found that several differences between groups, such as weight gain, internalising behaviours and sleep problems, could be attributed to hormonal or behavioural changes typically associated with pubertal development across all groups. Other observations were specific to the pubertal disorders, such as risk of obesity, problem eating behaviours, anxiety and depression, and aggression. Furthermore, being from a family with a single-parent or non-parent care-giver, and increased family stress were related to earlier pubertal development. In summary, children with a diagnosis of PA or CPP may be more likely to display altered behaviour and psychopathology, but some of these difficulties may also occur in typical pubertal development.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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