Brief report: Fathers' and mothers' marital relationship predicts daughters' pubertal development two years later

J Adolesc. 2009 Apr;32(2):415-23. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.06.009. Epub 2008 Aug 15.


Parents of 50 4th grade girls reported on their marital relationships and then, two years later, rated their daughters' pubertal development. Fathers' ratings of marital dissatisfaction, mothers' ratings of less emotional support from husbands, and both parents' ratings of aversive marital conflict were correlated with more advanced pubertal development in daughters. Fathers' withdrawal behavior during marital conflict emerged as the strongest predictor. These results are consistent with evolutionary theories of pubertal development and suggest that parents' impressions of the marital relationship may be linked with girls' pubertal development, even in a middle-class sample with both parents present in the household. They also suggest several heretofore underexplored foci for researchers in this area, such as parents' behaviors during marital conflict and fathers' experiences of the marital relationship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Nuclear Family / psychology*
  • Puberty / physiology*
  • Puberty / psychology