Adolescent Growth Spurt
Boys ang girls develop male and female sexual characteristics respectively during adolescent growth spurt. Androgens control the development of masculine characteristics in boys, while estrogens are responsible for the development of feminine characteristics in girls.
“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth.” ~ Bruce Lee
Teenagers experience rapid growth as a part of maturation driven by hormones during adolescent growth spurt. This period is often expressed as the age of peak height velocity. Susan Moore and Doreen Rosenthal argue that peak mass velocity, however, takes place some months later. During this period, growth takes place in the skeleton, muscles and every system of the body, except the brain and the head. Girls experience their adolescent growth spurt between the age of eleven and fourteen years, and the growth spurt in girls generally starts after experiencing menarche. Growth spurt in boys takes place between the age of twelve and sixteen years.
Boys increase in height during adolescence and also develop distinct masculine characteristics. Kathleen Haywood and Nancy Getchell say that a group of hormones called androgens controls the development of masculine characteristics in boys. The most active androgen is testosterone, which is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics, and the deepening of voice. Girls produce minute quantities of androgens, which are largely ineffective. David Shaffer and Katherine Kipp say that estrogens are responsible for the development of sexual and distinct feminine characteristics in girls. It is of essence to note that even though both girls and boys produce them, the function of estrogen in boys is not entirely clear.
Getchell, N. & Haywood, K. (2009). Life Span Motor Development. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Kipp, K. & Shaffer, D. R. (2010). Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Moore, S. & Rosenthal, D. (1995). Sexuality in Adolescence. New York: Routledge.