Why is it that most guys mature a lot slower than girls. Is it really genetics, or does it have more to do with their environment and how they are raised?
It seems like the guys that I know who are more educated and who come from wealthier families usually mature a lot faster, than guys that are less educated and have less resources.
So which plays a MORE significant role; genetics or environment? Or is there another more significant factor.
Most Helpful Guy
Environment is by far the most significant factor. It's no mystery that different cultures have different effects on children. Numerous studies have shown that JAPANESE 1st graders for example, used more sophisticated problem solving strategies more consistently than AMERICAN 1st graders. These results are attributed to cultural differences in curricula, teaching, and learning styles, and is emphasized by the fact that identical results are found even amongst the children in the study who were of non-japanese decent (i.e. -- western and european kids raised in japan). It's also interesting to note that U.S. high school seniors score poorly in general science literacy, advanced mathematics, and advanced physics, while European countries take the lead in all three areas.
In other words, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that environment has a significant effect on INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT, which often times effects "maturity" on several levels.
In addition, the well-known "pubertal spurt" that "MANY" girls experience from the age of 8 to 13, as demonstrated by their higher MEDIAN heights, is also exacerbated by their often times richer diet -- as in a more rounded diet containing more nutrients. This richer diet is often times reinforced (some would argue imposed) by certain cultures on girls in order to maintain the society's vision of a "beautifully thin" girl. (Though there are many overweight girls in many countries, in certain cultures, western and european for example -- there are more incentives for women to be thin and eat healthier, then there are for men to be thin and eat healthier). As a consequence, studies have shown that this richer diet increases the production of sex hormones causing "precocious puberty" (western girls for example reach their adolescence at 12 years rather than 16 years for their male counterparts).
And since many factors effect ones environment -- for example financial and social status -- you get a relatively wide variety of maturity and developmental levels amongst kids from different backgrounds. You may also be especially discouraged by the theory that our western "pop" culture gives very little incentive for young boys to pursue advancements in anything other than gaining the top spots in the "Most Viewed" category of exploding coke bottles on YouTube.6