The British Journal of Psychiatry

Abstract

Background

A growing number of studies suggest a link between timing of menarche and risk of depressive symptoms in adolescence, but few have prospectively examined the emergence of depressive symptoms from late childhood into adolescence.

Aims

To examine whether girls who experience earlier menarche than their peers have higher levels of depressive symptoms in adolescence.

Method

The study sample comprised 2184 girls from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. The association between timing of menarche and depressive symptoms at 10.5, 13 and 14 years was examined within a structural equation model.

Results

Girls with early menarche (<11.5 years) had the highest level of depressive symptoms at 13 (P = 0.007) and 14 years (P<0.001) compared with those with normative and late timing of menarche.

Conclusions

Early maturing girls are at increased risk of depressive symptoms in adolescence and could be targeted by programmes aimed at early intervention and prevention.

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