Objective: To determine whether greater childhood adversity relates to younger menarcheal age; whether younger menarcheal age relates to increased CVD risk; and whether greater childhood adversity relates to increased CVD risk, directly or indirectly (mediated by menarcheal age).
Methods: Among 650 pre-menopausal women (ages 25-45; M=34.9[5.6]), SEM was performed to estimate relations between childhood adversity, menarcheal age, and CVD risk.
Results: Results supported a covariate-adjusted model (RMSEA=0.035; CFI=0.983) in which greater childhood adversity was related to younger menarcheal age (β=-.13, p<.01) and younger menarcheal age was related to greater CVD risk (β=-.18, p<.05). Direct and indirect effects of childhood adversity on CVD risk were non-significant. Re-evaluation of the same model with additional covariate-adjustment for adulthood body composition showed the relation between menarcheal age and CVD risk attenuated (β=-.03, p=.376).
Conclusions: Cross-sectional evidence suggests family-related adversity experiences in childhood confer risk for earlier menarche which, in turn, relates to increased CVD risk in adulthood, possibly via post-pubertal body size.
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