Transition

With puberty coming earlier, girls more vulnerable to depression

(Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images)

It’s known that girls are now hitting puberty at earlier ages, but how is this affecting them? An extensive study of 8,327 children born in Hong Kong in 1997 presented a substantial amount of health data for researchers to comb through. “What we found was the girls who had earlier breast development had a higher risk of depressive symptoms, or more depressive symptoms,” said epidemiologist Dr. C. Mary Schooling. Similar results were exhibited in studies of girls in the United States. And, as if experiencing early puberty wasn’t stressful enough, there are several risks associated with it as well. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Jane Mendle, girls are also more likely to experience anxiety, disordered eating, and self-injury. “We also know that early maturing girls are more likely to be harassed and victimized by other kids in their grade,” said Dr. Mendle. Parents can make puberty less excruciating for their daughters by having clear conversations about the process ahead of time, and by maintaining positive relationships with their children.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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