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Arch Dis Child. 1970 February; 45(239): 13–23.
PMCID: PMC2020414

Variations in the Pattern of Pubertal Changes in Boys


Mixed longitudinal data on the physical changes at puberty in 228 normal boys are presented together with normal standards for stages of genital and pubic hair development.

The genitalia began to develop between the ages 9½ years and 13½ years in 95% of boys (mean = 11.6 ± 0.09) and reached maturity at ages varying between 13 and 17 (mean = 14.9 ± 1.10). The age at which pubic hair first appeared was not accurately determined, but its development through the later stages was studied. It reached the equivalent of an adult female distribution at a mean age of 15.2 ± 0.01 years.

On average the genitalia reached the adult stage 3.0 years after they first began to develop; but some boys completed this development in as little as 1.8 years while others took as much as 4.7 years. Some boys complete the whole process in less time than others take to go from Stage G2 to Stage G3. The genitalia begin to develop before pubic hair is visible in photographs in practically all boys.

The 41 boys in whom it could be studied reached their maximum rate of growth (peak height velocity) at a mean age of 14.1 ± 0.14 years.

Very few boys (about 5%) reached peak height velocity before their genitalia were in Stage 4 and over 20% did not do so until their genitalia were adult. Peak height velocity is reached, on the average, nearly 2 years later in boys than in girls, but the boys' genitalia begin to develop only about 6 months later than the girls' breasts. Pubic hair appears about 1½ years later in boys than in girls.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • BARTON WH, HUNT EE., Jr Somatotype and adolescence in boys: a longitudinal study. Hum Biol. 1962 Dec;34:254–270. [PubMed]
  • Marshall WA, Tanner JM. Variations in pattern of pubertal changes in girls. Arch Dis Child. 1969 Jun;44(235):291–303. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • NICOLSON AB, HANLEY C. Indices of physiological maturity: derivation and interrelationships. Child Dev. 1953 Mar;24(1):3–38. [PubMed]
  • REYNOLDS EL, WINES JV. Physical changes associated with adolescence in boys. AMA Am J Dis Child. 1951 Nov;82(5):529–547. [PubMed]
  • Tanner JM, Whitehouse RH, Takaishi M. Standards from birth to maturity for height, weight, height velocity, and weight velocity: British children, 1965. II. Arch Dis Child. 1966 Dec;41(220):613–635. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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