Transition in Adolescent Girls
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Adolescence is an important stage in the transition from childhood to adulthood this is when many physical, cognitive, and social changes occur. This stage is associated with an increasing range of problems, such as depression, suicide, and substance abuse (Dahl, Gunnar, 2009). Studies have shown that cortical and subcortical areas, which are involved in emotional reactivity and regulation, undergo significant structural changes during this period. While much research has focused on age-related development, this study will focus on the role of puberty on brain development of adolescent girls. In order to do so, a neuroimaging study of females aged 10-14 years will be conducted, including three waves of data collection. Each point will be separated by 18 months. At each time point, pubertal stage, hormone levels, and brain structure will be assessed. This study will specifically relate pubertal development and brain structure using data from wave one of the larger project. The purpose of this study is to better understand the role of pubertal changes on brain regions underlying emotional and behavioral functioning. We hope to ultimately be able to predict disorders in the future and create interventions and prevention strategies.