Accessibility navigation

The influence of chronic conditions and the environment on pubertal development. An example from medieval England

Lewis, M. E. ORCID:, Shapland, F. and Watts, R. (2016) The influence of chronic conditions and the environment on pubertal development. An example from medieval England. International Journal of Paleopathology, 12. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1879-9817

Text - Accepted Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2015.10.004


Adolescence is a unique period in human development encompassing sexual maturation (puberty) and the physical and psychological transition into adulthood. It is a crucial time for healthy development and any adverse environmental conditions, poor nutrition, or chronic infection can alter the timing of these physical changes; delaying menarche in girls or the age of peak height velocity in boys. This study explores the impact of chronic illness on the tempo of puberty in 607 adolescent skeletons from medieval England (AD 900-1550). A total of 135 (22.2%) adolescents showed some delay in their pubertal development, and this lag increased with age. Of those with a chronic condition, 40.0% (n=24/60) showed delay compared to only 20.3% (n=111/547) of the non-pathology group. This difference was statistically significant. A binary logistic regression model demonstrated a significant association between increasing delay in pubertal stage attainment with age in the pathology group. This is the first time that chronic conditions have been directly associated with a delay in maturation in the osteological record, using a new method to assess stages of puberty in skeletal remains.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
ID Code:51151
Uncontrolled Keywords:tuberculosis treponemal disease rickets epiphyseal fusion adolescence


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation