Very long-term follow-up of girls with early and late menarche

Endocr Dev. 2005;8:126-136. doi: 10.1159/000084098.


Short- and long-term psychosocial effects of precocious or early normal puberty are probably more important for individuals than the moderate losses in final height they experience. Despite this, pediatric endocrinologists have focused much more on final height than psychosocial outcomes. As a surrogate for long-term follow-up studies of girls with precocious puberty, we have reviewed the results of a very long-term study of physical and psychosocial development of girls with normal early puberty. Results revealed that at age 15-16, girls with menarche before age 11 (early) were more norm-breaking, including being delinquents. In addition, they had earlier advanced sexual experiences. By adult age, there were no differences in psychosocial adjustment between the early- and late-developed women. Thus, the effects of early pubertal timing for psychosocial problems seem to be adolescent-limited. At ages 27 and 43, early-developed women had lower academic education. Regarding somatic development, at age 43, women with early menarche were shorter and heavier, had worse physical fitness and dieted more frequently compared to other women. There was no difference in quality of life. In searching for reasons for the antisocial behaviors in adolescence and the lower educational levels among early developers, early heterosexual relations seem to be the most crucial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Height
  • Body Image
  • Body Weight
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Human Development / physiology
  • Humans
  • Menarche / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Psychology
  • Puberty, Delayed / physiopathology
  • Puberty, Delayed / psychology
  • Puberty, Precocious / physiopathology*
  • Puberty, Precocious / psychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Time Factors