Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Problem-child behavior could result from early puberty in girls

Date:
December 9, 2013
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
A study shows early maturing in adolescent girls can increase aggressive and delinquent behavior.

Findings from a University of Alabama at Birmingham study published Dec. 9 in the journal Pediatrics show that adolescent girls who experience their first menstrual cycle prior to age 11 reported more delinquent and physically aggressive behavior.

By age 16, the effect of early puberty on physical aggression disappeared, but these girls still reported more delinquent behavior than those who did not experience early puberty.

"Delinquency and aggression put adolescents at risk for many negative outcomes in the future, including lower educational achievement, substance abuse, depression and problems in relationships," explained the study's lead author Sylvie Mrug, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAB Department of Psychology. "Thus it is important to understand how these problem behaviors develop and how pubertal timing and friends' behavior -- among other variables -- contribute to them."

Mrug and colleagues interviewed more than 2,600 girls and their parents three times between the ages of 11-16 to examine how early puberty onset and best friends' problem behavior, like talking back to adults, lying, cheating and not being nice, contributed to delinquency and different types of aggression over time.

Girls who had a best friend with more problem behavior reported more delinquent and aggressive behavior at age 11, but these effects mostly dissipated by age 16.

"This suggests that negative peer influences from best friends at age 11 are short-lived, perhaps because best friends change as children enter middle school," Mrug said. "The most interesting finding was that girls who experienced early puberty reported more delinquent behavior if their best friend was more deviant."

The results suggest that early maturing girls are more vulnerable to negative peer influences.

"It is important for parents and other adults to monitor who the friends are and what the girls do with their friends," Mrug said. "Of course this is important for all children and adolescents, but it may be even more critical for girls who mature early, as they are more vulnerable."

Another result is that early puberty and best friends' behavior at age 11 do not put girls on trajectories of long-term problem behaviors, according to Mrug.

"These influences can be short-lived, and this may give hope to families dealing with such issues," she said.

Mrug says it is important to have more studies that follow girls and boys from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood to see how much different risk factors matter in the long-term. Further study is needed to examine other relevant risk and protective factors such as social support or parenting influences.

The sample of girls came from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, and results showed that most of the relationships between early puberty, friends' behavior and aggression and delinquency are the same across race and ethnicity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sylvie Mrug, PhD et al. Early Puberty, Negative Peer Influence, and Problem Behaviors in Adolescent Girls. Pediatrics, December 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Problem-child behavior could result from early puberty in girls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209132448.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2013, December 9). Problem-child behavior could result from early puberty in girls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209132448.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Problem-child behavior could result from early puberty in girls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209132448.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins