Advanced pubertal development and eating disturbance in early adolescent girls

J Adolesc Health. 1993 Sep;14(6):433-9. doi: 10.1016/1054-139x(93)90113-4.


This study assessed the hypothesis that early adolescent girls with advanced pubertal development would be at increased risk for eating disturbance compared with less-advanced peers. Sixth-grade girls differing in levels of pubertal development responded to the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI); to questions about weight-related concerns and dieting; and to measures of body image and appearance satisfaction. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from measured weights and heights, and used as a measure of body fatness. Also assessed were the relative contributions of physical variables (e.g., body fatness) and psychological variables (e.g., body image) to eating- and weight-related concerns. Results supported the hypothesis that more advanced pubertal development was associated with an elevated level of eating disturbance. Analyses suggested that although normal pubertal increases in fatness and weight initially might induce eating-related concerns, it is the psychological response to these changes, in the form of more negative body image, that ultimately becomes more important for promoting eating disturbance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Body Composition
  • Body Image
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Puberty* / physiology
  • Puberty* / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Gain