Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 41, Issue 9, pp 1142–1150 | Cite as

Early Menarcheal Age and Risk for Later Depressive Symptomatology: The Role of Childhood Depressive Symptoms

  • Sarah R. Black
  • Daniel N. Klein
Empirical Research


Previous research has investigated the relationship between pubertal timing and depression in girls, with most results suggesting that earlier menarche predicts more depression in adolescence. However, few studies have controlled for the potentially confounding effects of childhood depressive symptoms. The current study uses a prospective, longitudinal sample of 1,185 girls (47.8 % Caucasian) to examine the relationships between pubertal timing, childhood depressive symptoms, and adolescent depressive symptomatology. Using multiple linear regression analyses, our results suggest that higher levels of childhood depressive symptoms and earlier menarche have independent effects on adolescent depressive symptoms. Surprisingly, childhood depressive symptomatology predicted later age of menarche, although the magnitude of this effect was small. Taken together, the results suggest that early childhood depressive symptoms and early menarche represent independent pathways to later depressive symptoms.


Childhood depression Puberty Pubertal timing Early menarche 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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