Endocrine markers of puberty timing and antisocial behaviour in girls and boys

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Background: Early puberty is associated with higher than average risk of antisocial behaviour, both in girls and boys. Most studies of such association, however, have focused on psychosocial mediating and moderating factors. Few refer to coterminous hormonal measures. Aim: The aim of this review is to consider the role of hormonal markers as potential mediating or moderating factors between puberty timing and antisocial behaviour. Method: A systematic literature search was conducted searching Medline, Embase, Web of Science, Scopus, Psycinfo, Cochrane and Google Scholar. Results: Just eight studies were found to fit criteria, all cross-sectional. Measurements were too heterogeneous to allow meta-analysis. The most consistent associations found were between adrenal hormones—both androgens and cortisol—which were associated with early adrenarche and antisocial behaviours in girls and later adrenarche and antisocial behaviour in boys. Conclusions: The findings from our review suggest that longitudinal studies to test bidirectional hormone–behaviour associations with early or late puberty would be worthwhile. In view of the interactive processes between hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal and hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axes, integrated consideration of the hormonal end products is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-131
Number of pages15
JournalCriminal Behaviour and Mental Health
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2020

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© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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