Cincinnati Children's Blog

Early Puberty in Girls Might Be Linked to Bad Behavior

Girls who hit puberty early might be more likely than their peers to get into fights or skip school, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that girls who started their menstrual periods early – before age 11 – were more likely to admit to a “delinquent act,” like getting into fights at school, skipping classes and running away from home.

“It is typical for girls with early breast development to be treated differently,” commented Dr. Frank Biro, a professor of clinical pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s who was not involved in the study.

This study defined early puberty based on menstruation, but breast development comes first. It’s the sign of maturation that other people can see, Biro said.

Biro said earlier puberty in girls has been tied to earlier sexual activity, depression and problems with body image and self-esteem. “Just because you look physically more mature doesn’t mean you’re developing any quicker emotionally and socially,” he said.

This latest study is not the first to find a connection between early puberty and delinquency, but none of the findings can prove that early maturation is definitely to blame.

Read more from U.S. News & World Report

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