Global Puberty Research

Very young adolescents are often overlooked in global health. There is minimal existing evidence about the social and physiological changes they experience maturing within different cultural and economic contexts, and the unique challenges they face for a healthy transition into young adulthood. Our global puberty research agenda has two key objectives: 

  1. To expand the evidence available on pubescent boys and girls globally;

  2. To utilize this learning for developing educational resources, in the form of puberty education books for girls and boys aged 10-14.

Expanding the evidence base:

We conduct research focused specifically on the pubertal transition of girls and boys globally, including the impact of menstruation and other bodily changes on their sense of wellbeing, their access to education and their experiences of violence and peer pressures. We utilize participatory research methods to capture the voiced experiences of girls and boys and to understand the specific challenges they face as they navigate the transition from childhood to adolescence.

Select Publications (see Articles page for more):

Developing educational resources:

In collaboration with Grow and Know (a small non-profit that develops puberty books), we develop puberty content for girls and boys. The books are grounded in the social, cultural, and economic context of each country and incorporate factual guidance alongside the real-life stories of girls and boys captured through research. Mailman graduates have been involved in supporting several of the books including assisting with data collection and the development of the books.

To date, we have developed puberty books in ten countries: Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and the USA. Learn more about our book development model here.