Delaney JoLynn Glass

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Washington, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10508

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Glass, Delaney (Washington, U. of) "Rethinking Evolutionary and Proximate Drivers of Pubertal Timing among Jordanian Non-Refugee and Syrian Refugee Adolescents"

Extreme forms of stress experienced prior to or during sensitive periods such as puberty may have sweeping impacts on health and physiology. The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) and the gonadal axis (HPA) regulate pubertal growth and maturation and are sensitive to environmental challenges. Evolutionary social scientists suggest early life adversity may accelerate or suppress pubertal development in the presence of high psychosocial stress, shortened life expectancies, or continuous nutritional disadvantage. Some proposed biological mechanisms underpinning these hypotheses have included acceleration or suppression of gonadal maturation by the HPA axis, though they are rarely tested. The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of psychosocial stress on adolescent development. I will use archived dried blood spot samples and secondary data from 580 Jordanian non-refugee and Syrian refugee adolescents (ages 10-19) who participated in a randomized control trial in Northern Jordan (2015-2017). I will assay cortisol (HPA), testosterone (HPG), and sex hormone binding globulin (marker of gonadal maturation) to use in ‘hormonal coupling’ models which capture the associated change in these hormones across age. I will test whether earlier pubertal timing (proxied by cortisol-testosterone coupling & relative SHBG), is associated with gender, refugee status, and greater psychosocial stress.