Adolescent Growth and Development

Adolescence is a time of physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. The timing, duration, and complexity of the changes vary greatly among individuals. Adolescents and their parents have many questions and concerns about what is normal and what to expect as development progresses. This guide includes resources for information about physical and psychological development during adolescence, especially the pre-teen and teen years, for health professionals, parents, and adolescents. It does not include resources related to cognitive, social, and spiritual development, which can be found in the literature of child development, psychology, social work, and education. Resources related to adolescent sexual development may be found in the Resource Guide: Adolescent Sexuality and Sex Education.

Resources related to adolescents with disabilities may be found in Reproductive Health Care for Adolescents with Disabilities, a supplement to Guidelines for Adolescent Health Care (ACOG, 2011). Books “for young adolescents” listed in the Resource Guide:  Adolescent Sexuality and Sex Education have much information about physical and emotional development and can be used by parents and professionals to educate adolescents with limited cognitive development.

Many of the books listed “for parents” address a variety of behavioral concerns including sexual behavior, substance use, poor school performance, sleep problems, and delinquency, in addition to normal development and behavior. They include advice on effective communication and parenting styles as well as  recognition of and appropriate responses to problem behaviors.  Health professionals may find these useful in strengthening the education and recommendations they provide to adolescents and their families.

The following resources are available from ACOG:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Menstruation - especially for teens. ACOG Patient Education Pamphlet AP049. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2007.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your changing body - especially for teens. Patient Education Pamphlet AP041. Washington, DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2012.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Menstrual periods. In: Tool kit for teen care. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2009.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Female adolescent development. In: Guidelines for adolescent health care. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2011. p. 19-24.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Primary and preventive care for female adolescents. In: Guidelines for adolescent health care. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2011. p. 25-42.

Menstruation in girls and adolescents: using the menstrual cycle as a vital sign. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 349. American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2006;108:1323-8.

The resources listed below are for information purposes only. Referral to these sources and sites does not imply the endorsement of ACOG. Further, ACOG does not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised or available from these organizations or on these web sites. These lists are not meant to be comprehensive. The exclusion of a source or site does not reflect the quality of that source or site. Please note that sites and URLs are subject to change without notice.

Resources for Professionals

Physical Development

Biro FM. Puberty. Adolesc Med State Art Rev 2007;18:425-33, v.

Biro FM, Dorn LD. Puberty and adolescent sexuality. Pediatr Ann 2005;34:777-84.

Biro FM, Huang B, Crawford PB, Lucky AW, Striegel-Moore R, Barton BA, et al. Pubertal correlates in black and white girls. J Pediatr 2006;148:234-40.

Bordini B, Rosenfield RL. Normal pubertal development: part I: The endocrine basis of puberty. Pediatr Rev 2011;32:223-9.

Bordini B, Rosenfield RL. Normal pubertal development: part II: clinical aspects of puberty. Pediatr Rev 2011;32:281-92.

Giedd JN, Lalonde FM, Celano MJ, White SL, Wallace GL, Lee NR, et al. Anatomical brain magnetic resonance imaging of typically developing children and adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2009;48:465-70.

Herman-Giddens ME, Kaplowitz PB, Wasserman R. Navigating the recent articles on girls' puberty in Pediatrics: what do we know and where do we go from here? Pediatrics 2004;113:911-7.

Herman-Giddens ME, Wang L, Koch G. Secondary sexual characteristics in boys: estimates from the national health and nutrition examination survey III, 1988-1994. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155:1022-8.

Kaplowitz PB, Slora EJ, Wasserman RC, Pedlow SE, Herman-Giddens ME. Earlier onset of puberty in girls: relation to increased body mass index and race. Pediatrics 2001;108:347-53.

Lalwani S, Reindollar RH, Davis AJ. Normal onset of puberty have definitions of onset changed? Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 2003;30:279-86.

Lee PA, Reiter EO. Genital size: a common adolescent male concern. Adolesc Med 2002;13:171-80, viii.

Nathan BM, Palmert MR. Regulation and disorders of pubertal timing. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am 2005;34:617-41, ix.

Nebesio TD, Eugster EA. Current concepts in normal and abnormal puberty. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care 2007;37:50-72.

Patton GC, Viner R. Pubertal transitions in health. Lancet 2007;369:1130-9.

Plant TM. Neurophysiology of puberty. J Adolesc Health 2002;31:185-91.

Rogol AD, Roemmich JN, Clark PA. Growth at puberty. J Adolesc Health 2002;31:192-200.

Rosen DS. Physiologic growth and development during adolescence. Pediatr Rev 2004;25:194-200.

Rosenfield RL, Lipton RB, Drum ML. Thelarche, pubarche, and menarche attainment in children with normal and elevated body mass index [published erratum appears in Pediatrics 2009;123:1255]. Pediatrics 2009;123:84-8.

Vigil P, Orellana RF, Cortes ME, Molina CT, Switzer BE, Klaus H. Endocrine modulation of the adolescent brain: a review. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 2011;24:330-7.

Walvoord EC. The timing of puberty: is it changing? Does it matter? J Adolesc Health 2010;47:433-9

White AM. Understanding adolescent brain development and its implications for the clinician. Adolesc Med State Art Rev 2009;20:73-90, viii-ix.


Adams Hillard PJ. Menstruation in young girls: a clinical perspective. Obstet Gynecol 2002;99:655-62.

Chumlea WC, Schubert CM, Roche AF, Kulin HE, Lee PA, Himes JH, et al. Age at menarche and racial comparisons in US girls. Pediatrics 2003;111:110-3.

Reagan PB, Salsberry PJ, Fang MZ, Gardner WP, Pajer K. African-American/white differences in the age of menarche: accounting for the difference. Soc Sci Med 2012;75:1263-70.

Pubertal Abnormalities

Dorn LD, Rotenstein D. Early puberty in girls: the case of premature adrenarche. Womens Health Issues 2004;14:177-83.

Graber E, Rapaport R. Growth and growth disorders in children and adolescents. Pediatr Ann 2012;41:e1-9.

Gracia CR, Driscoll DA. Molecular basis of pubertal abnormalities. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 2003;30:261-77.

Loomba-Albrecht LA, Styne DM. The physiology of puberty and its disorders. Pediatr Ann 2012;41:e1-9.

Palmert MR, Dunkel L. Clinical practice. Delayed puberty. N Engl J Med 2012;366:443-53.

Reiter EO, Lee PA. Delayed puberty. Adolesc Med 2002;13:101-18, vii.

Rosen DS, Foster C. Delayed puberty. Pediatr Rev 2001;22:309-15.

Psychological Development

Brisbon N, Chambers CV. Neurocognitive development in adolescent males or adolescent boys are from Pluto. Prim Care 2006;33:223-36, xi.

Dahl RE, Hariri AR. Lessons from G. Stanley Hall: connecting new research in biological sciences to the study of adolescent development. J Res Adolesc 2005;15:367-82.
Gutgesell ME, Payne N. Issues of adolescent psychological development in the 21st century. Pediatr Rev 2004;25:79-85.

Hazen E, Schlozman S, Beresin E. Adolescent psychological development: a review. Pediatr Rev 2008;29:161-7; quiz 168.

Steinberg L. Gallagher lecture. The family at adolescence: transition and transformation. J Adolesc Health 2000;27:170-8.

Books for Professionals

Alderman EM, Brown RT, editors. Adolescents, families, and society in the new millennium [special issue]. Adolesc Med 2001;12(3).

Coleman JC. The nature of adolescence. 4th ed. New York (NY): Routledge; 2011.

Dahl RE, Spear LP, editors. Adolescent brain development: vulnerabilities and opportunities [special issue]. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2004;1021.

Graham P. The end of adolescence. New York (NY): Oxford University Press; 2004.

Jackson S, Goossens L. Handbook of adolescent development. New York (NY): Psychology Press; 2006.

Books for Parents

Epstein R. The case against adolescence: rediscovering the adult in every teen. Sanger (CA): Quill Driver Books; 2007.

Feinstein S. Inside the teenage brain: parenting a work in progress. Lanham (MD): Rowman & Littlefield Education; 2009.

Ginsburg KR. Building resilience in children and teens: giving kids roots and wings. 2nd ed. Elk Grove Village (IL): American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011.

Greydanus DE, editor. Caring for your teenager: the complete and authoritative guide. Elk Grove Village (IL): American Academy of Pediatrics; 2003.

Kastner LS, Wyatt J. Getting to calm: cool-headed strategies for parenting tweens and teens. Seattle (WA): ParentMap; 2009.

Marks A, Rothbart B. Healthy teens, body and soul : a parent’s complete guide to adolescent health. New York (NY): Fireside; 2003.

McNeely C, Blanchard J. The teen years explained: a guide to healthy adolescent development. Baltimore (MD): Center for Adolescent Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; 2009. Available at: Retrieved October 23, 2012.

Panzarine S. A parent’s guide to the teen years: raising your 11 to 14 year old in the age of chat rooms and navel rings. New York (NY): Facts on File; 2000.

Pruitt DB, editor. Your adolescent: emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development from early adolescence through the teen years. New York (NY): HarperCollins; 1999.

Rubenstein A, Zager K. The inside story on teen girls : experts answer teens’ questions. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 2002.

Saval M. The secret lives of boys : inside the raw emotional world of male teens. New York (NY): Basic Books; 2009.

Steinberg LD. You and your adolescent: the essential guide for ages 10-25. New York (NY): Simon & Schuster; 2011.

Sternheimer K. Kids these days : facts and fictions about today’s youth. Lanham (MD): Rowman & Littlefield; 2006.

Strauch B. The primal teen: what the new discoveries about the teenage brain tell us about our kids. New York (NY): Doubleday; 2003.

Walsh D. Why do they act that way? A survival guide to the adolescent brain for you and your teen. New York (NY): Free Press; 2004.

Books for Adolescents

Bailey J. Sex, puberty and all that stuff: a guide to growing up. New York (NY): Barron's; 2004.

Hibbert A. Puberty. North Mankato (MN): Smart Apple Media; 2006.

Lawton SA, editor. Body information for teens: health tips about maintaining well-being for a lifetime including facts about the development and functioning of the body’s systems, organs, and structures and the health impact of lifestyle choices. Detroit (MI): Omnigraphics; 2007.

McCoy K, Wibbelsman C. Growing and changing. New York (NY): Berkley Publishing Group; 2003.

McCoy K, Wibbelsman C. The teenage body book. New York (NY): Hatherleigh; 2008.

Metzger JG, Lehman R. Will puberty last my whole life? Real answers to real questions from preteens about body changes, sex, and other growing-up stuff. Seattle (WA): Sasquatch Books; 2011.

Books for Female Adolescents

American Medical Association. Girl's guide to becoming a teen. San Francisco (CA): Jossey-Bass; 2006.

Katz A. Girl in the know: your inside-and-out guide to growing up. Tonawanda (NY): Kids Can Press; 2010.

Holmes M, Hutchison T. Girlology’s there’s something new about you: a girl’s guide to growing up.

Deerfield Beach (FL): Health Communications; 2010.

Kilpatrick H. The drama years: real girls talk about surviving middle school -- bullies, brands, body image, and more. New York (NY): Free Press; 2012.

Loulan J, Worthen B. Period: a girl’s guide to menstruation with a parent’s guide. Minnetonka (MN): Book Peddlers; 2001.

Madaras L. The "what’s happening to my body?" book for girls. 3rd rev. ed. New York (NY): Newmarket Press; 2007.

Movsessian S. Puberty girl. Crows Nest, N.S.W. Australia: Allen & Unwin; 2004.

Weschler T. Cycle savvy: the smart teen’s guide to the mysteries of her body. New York (NY): Collins; 2006.

Books for Male Adolescents

American Medical Association. Boy's guide to becoming a teen. San Francisco (CA): Jossey-Bass; 2006.

Madaras L. The "what’s happening to my body?" book for boys. 3rd rev. ed. New York (NY): Newmarket Press; 2007.

Mar J, Norwich G. The body book for boys: everything you need to know about growing up. New York (NY): Scholastic; 2010.

Plaisted C. Growing up boy talk: a survival guide to growing up. London: QED; 2011.

Price G. Puberty boy. Crows Nest, N.S. W. Australia: Allen & Unwin; 2005.

Other Resources, Organizations, Websites

American Academy of Pediatrics

Pamphlet: Puberty - Ready or Not, Expect Some Big Changes

Center for Young Women’s Health

ETR Associates

Pamphlets: Female Facts, Male Facts, Menstruation Facts, Menstruation: Talking With Your Daughter, Puberty Facts, Puberty and Pressure, Your Body: How it Works

Family Planning Council

Booklet: Puberty's Wild Ride: The Ups and Downs, Ins and Outs, Zigs and Zags of Growing Up

Krames Staywell

Booklet: Getting Your Period
HealthSheets: Changes During Puberty for Boys and Girls; For Girls: Understanding Puberty; When Your Child Reaches Puberty: Answers to Common Questions; When Your Child Reaches Puberty: Normal Growth and Development in Boys; When Your Child Reaches Puberty: Normal Growth and Development in Girls

National Institute of Mental Health

Fact sheet: Brain Development During Childhood and Adolescence

Pamphlet: The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction

National Geographic Society

Article: Beautiful Brains


Caitlin Phelps, MA
Director of Gynecology

Lyndona Charles
Special Assistant, Gynecology and Ethics

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998