Managing precocious puberty: A necessity for psychiatric evaluation

Asian J Psychiatr. 2021 Apr;58:102617. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2021.102617. Epub 2021 Feb 21.


Objective: Precocious puberty (PP) is one of the most common endocrine disorders in school-age girls. It has been reported that there is an increased tendency for psychiatric disorders for early maturing girls. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of psychiatric problems and to investigate depression and anxiety levels, and self-concept characteristics in girls with PP.

Methods: Girls with PP (n = 41) and controls (n = 45) aged 7-11 years participated in this study. Psychiatric evaluations were conducted with semi-structured interviews. Behavioral and emotional problems were assessed using Child Behavior Check List and Teacher Report Form. Children's Depression Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children and Piers-Harris Children's Self Concept Scale were administered, respectively.

Results: Girls with PP had significantly more psychiatric diagnosis than controls (68.3 % vs 20 %, p < 0.001). PP group had significantly higher anxious-depressed, somatic complaints, social problems, aggresive behaviors and interestingly autistic traits. Increased symptom levels of depression and anxiety, and lower self-concept scores were also obtained from PP subjects.

Conclusions: PP is an independent predictor of psychiatric disorders. It is also associated with poorer psychiatric status, lower self esteem characteristics, and autistic traits. A multidisciplinary approach combining endocrinologic and psychiatric evaluations seem to be beneficial for the management of girls with PP.

Keywords: Autistic traits; Precocious puberty; Psychiatric disorders; Self-concept.