Objective: This study examined the relationship between timing of sexual maturation and eating disorders symptoms in adolescent girls.
Method: Data were collected over 10 years for a cohort of 1,213 Black girls and 1,166 White girls who were either 9 or 10 years old at study entry. Annually, girls' height and weight were measured and, biannually, girls completed self-report measures of eating disorders symptoms.
Results: Early-onset menarche is a risk factor for the development of body image and dieting concerns, but the effect of timing is due to the impact of early and late maturation on body weight.
Discussion: Findings underscore the importance of adiposity as a risk factor for poor mental health.
Copyright 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.