Exploring the relationship between timing of menarche and eating disorder symptoms in Black and White adolescent girls

Int J Eat Disord. 2001 Dec;30(4):421-33. doi: 10.1002/eat.1103.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menarche / physiology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology