A systematic review of sensorimotor function during adolescence: A developmental stage of increased motor awkwardness?

Catherine C. Quatman-Yates, Carmen E. Quatman, Andrew J. Meszaros, Mark V. Paterno, Timothy E. Hewett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Background: Although adolescent motor awkwardness and increased injury susceptibility have often been speculated and researched, studies regarding adolescent regressions in motor control have yielded inconsistent conclusions. Thus, the relationship between adolescent maturation and injury risk remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature relative to two questions: (1) Which sensorimotor mechanisms are not fully mature by the time children reach adolescence? and (2) Is adolescence a period when children exhibit delays or regressions in sensorimotor mechanisms? Methods: Systematic searches for keywords were performed in February 2010 using PubMed MEDLINE (from 1966), CINAHL (from 1982) and SPORTDiscus (from 1985) databases. Articles were reviewed relative to predetermined criteria, and the methodological quality of each included study was assessed. Results: The search identifi ed 2304 studies, of which 33 studies met the inclusion criteria. All 33 identifi ed studies provided results associated with Question 1, 6 of which also yielded results pertaining to Question 2. The search results indicated that many aspects of sensorimotor function continue to mature throughout adolescence, and at least some children experience delays or regressions in at least some sensorimotor mechanisms. The results also exposed several signifi cant weaknesses in our knowledge base. Conclusion: The identifi ed knowledge gaps are critical barriers because they hinder methods for identifying children at high risk and diminish the effi cacy of targeted prevention programmes. Implications regarding research on adolescent injury risk are discussed and recommendations for future research such as improved methodological designs and integration of non-linear analyses are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-655
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of sports medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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