Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Early Puberty: Does It Increase the Risk of Problem Behaviors in Young Adolescent Girls?

We have published several articles recently noting the earlier and earlier onset of puberty (e.g. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-3773) and suggested reasons for this phenomenon. But what about the behaviors of those who develop earlier? Does it make teens more apt to become aggressive and/or delinquent?

Photo by  PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Mrug et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2013-0628) try to answer these questions in a fascinating and troubling longitudinal study of more than 2,300 girls from three urban areas, as well as their parents, who were interviewed at three time points over 6 years from ages 11 to 16. The influence of a best friend’s behavior on the early versus non-early pubertal female adolescent was also studied.

The results show some initial behavioral findings that are well-worth knowing about. After reading this study, you will want to immediately apply the findings to younger teens in your own practice who experience early menarche to determine if their behavioral patterns are as concerning as those in this study.

Do you agree with the findings? Whether or not you do, we’d love to hear your comments by responding to this blog entry below or sharing your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, or an eLetter that we can post on our website.

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