European journal of pediatrics

The effects of estradiol on mood and behavior in human female adolescents: a systematic review.

PMID 25567794


Mood disorders and health risk behaviors increase in adolescence. Puberty is considered to contribute to these events. However, the precise impact of pubertal hormone changes to the emergence of mood disorders and risk behaviors is relatively unclear. It is important that inappropriate attribution is not made. Our aim was to determine what is known about the effect of endogenous estradiol on human adolescent girls' mood and behavior. The databases searched were MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Pre-MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Scopus for all dates to October 2014. For inclusion, contemporaneous hormone and mood or behavioral assessment was required. Data were extracted following a template created by the authors. Fourteen studies met our inclusion criteria. There was some consistency in findings for mood and estradiol levels, with associations between estradiol and depression and emotional tone and risk taking. Results were less consistent for studies assessing other mood and behavioral outcomes. Most studies were cross-sectional in design; assay methodologies used in older studies may lack the precision to detect early pubertal hormone levels. Three longitudinal and several cross-sectional studies indicate potential associations between estradiol and certain mood or affective states, especially depression and mood variability though there are insufficient data to confirm that the rise in estradiol during puberty is causative. We believe that it is important for health professionals to take care when attributing adolescent psychopathology to puberty hormones, as the current data supporting these assertions are limited.