The Experience of Menarche from a Developmental Perspective

  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
  • Diane N. Ruble


Although just one of a series of physical events that marks the attainment of adult reproductive status, menarche may be the most important pubertal change that a young woman experiences. Being a discontinuous event embedded in a more gradual process may make it even more salient to the young girl. Examining the social, psychological, and physical meaning of menarche is important for several reasons.


Junior High School Young Girl Psychosomatic Medicine High School Girl Menstrual Symptom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abel, T., and Joffe, N. F. Cultural background of female puberty. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 1950, 4, 90–93.Google Scholar
  2. Apter, D., and Vilko, R. Serum pregnenolone, progesterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, testosterone and 5 alpha dihydrotestosterone during female puberty. Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology and Metabolism,1977, 45(5),1039–1048.Google Scholar
  3. Boggiano, A. K. Self-perception versus the cued expectancy: Analyses of overjustification. Doctoral dissertation, Princeton University, 1981.Google Scholar
  4. Brooks-Gunn, J. Transitions in Gender Role Development in Childhood and Adolescence. Paper presented at a conference on Gender Role Development at NICHD, Bethesda, October 1981.Google Scholar
  5. Brooks-Gunn, J. and Ruble, D. N. Menstrual related symptomatology in adolescents: The effects of attitudes, first menstrual experience, and parental factors. Paper presented at the second annual Conference on Interdisciplinary Research on the Menstrual Cycle, St. Louis, May 1978.Google Scholar
  6. Brooks-Gunn, J., and Ruble, D. N. Menarche: The interaction of physiology, cultural, and social factors. In A. J. Dan, E. A. Graham, and C. P. Beecher (Eds.), The menstrual cycle: A synthesis of interdisciplinary research. New York: Springer, 1980a.Google Scholar
  7. Brooks-Gunn, J., and Ruble, D. N. The menstrual attitude questionnaire. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1980b, 42 (5), 503–512.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Brooks-Gunn, J., and Ruble, D. N. Psychological determinants of menstrual product use in adolescent girls. Annals of Internal Medicine, 1982a, 96 (6), 962–965.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brooks-Gunn J., and Ruble, D. N. The development of menstrual-related beliefs and behaviors during early adolescence. Child Development, 1982b, 53, 1567–1577.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brooks-Gunn, J. and Ruble, D. N. Developmental processes in the experience of menstruation. In A. Baum and J. E. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of medical psychology. Vol. 1. Hillsdale, New Jersey: L. Erlbaum, 1982c.Google Scholar
  11. Brooks, J., Ruble, D. N., and Clark, A. College women’s attitudes and expectations concerning menstrual-related changes. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1977, 39, 288–298.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Clausen, J. A. The social meaning of differential physical and sexual maturation. In S. E. Dragaster and G. H. Elder, Jr. (Eds.), Adolescence in the life cycle. New York: Halstead; 1975.Google Scholar
  13. Dunham, G. Timing and sources of information about and attitudes toward menstruation among college females. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 1979, 117, 205–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Englander-Golden, P., Whitmore, M. R., and Dienstbier, R. A. Menstrual cycle as a focus of study and self reports of moods and behaviors. Motivation and Emotion, 1978, 2, 7586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Faust, N. S. Developmental maturity as a determinant in prestige of adolescent girls. Child Development, 1960, 31, 173–186.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Frank, A. The Diary of a young girl. New York: Pocket Books, 1972.Google Scholar
  17. Freud, A. Adolescence. In R. S. Eissler (Ed.), Psychoanalytic study of the child. Vol. 13. New York: International Universities Press, 1958.Google Scholar
  18. Haan, N. Personality development from adolescence to adulthood in the Oakland growth and guidance studies. Seminars in Psychiatry, 1972, 4 (4) 399–414.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Haft, M. H. An exploratory study of early adolescent girls: Body image, self acceptance, acceptance of traditional female role, and response to menstruation. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Columbia University, 1973.Google Scholar
  20. Henton, C. L. The effect of socio-economic and emotional factors on the onset of menarche among Negro and white girls. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 1961, 98, 255–268.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hollingshead, A. B., and Redlich, F. C. Social class and mental illness: A community study. New York: Wiley and Sons, 1958.Google Scholar
  22. Klein, J. R., and Litt, I. F. Epidemiology of adolescent dysmenorrhea. Pediatrics, 1981, 68, 66.Google Scholar
  23. Konopka, G. Young girls: A portrait of adolescence. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976.Google Scholar
  24. Larsen, U. L. Sources of menstrual information: A comparison of age groups. Family Life Coordinator, 1961, 10, 41–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maccoby, E. E., and Jacklin, C. N. The psychology of sex differences. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  26. May, R. R., Mood shifts and the menstrual cycle. Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 1976, 20, 125–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Moos, R. H. The development of the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1968, 30, 853–867.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Parlee, M. B. The premenstrual syndrome. Psychological Bulletin, 1973, 80, 454–465.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parlee, M. B. Stereotypic beliefs about menstruation: A methodological note on the Moos Menstrual Distress Questionnaire. Psychosomatic Medicine,1974, 36(3),229–240.Google Scholar
  30. Penny, R., Parlow, A. F., Olambiwonnie, N. O., and Frasier, S. D. Evolution of the menstrual pattern of gonadotropin and sex steroid concentrations in serum. Acta Endrocinology, 1977, 84, 79.Google Scholar
  31. Peskin, H. Influence of the developmental schedule of puberty on learning and ego development. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1973, 2, 273–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Peskin, H., and Livson, N. Pre and post pubertal personality and adult psychologic functioning. Seminars in Psychology, 1972, 4, 343–355.Google Scholar
  33. Petersen, A. C. Puberty and its psychosocial significance in girls. In A. J. Dan, E. A. Graham, and C. P. Beecher (Eds.), The menstrual cycle: A synthesis of interdisciplinary research. New York: Springer, 1980.Google Scholar
  34. Ruble, D. N. Premenstrual symptoms: A reinterpretation. Science, 1977, 197, 291–292.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ruble, D. N. and Brooks-Gunn, J. Menstrual symptoms: A social cognition analysis. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1979, 2 (2), 171–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ruble, D. N., and Brooks-Gunn, J. The experience of menarche. Child Development, 1982, 53, 1557–1566.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shainess, N. A re-evaluation of some aspects of femininity through a study of menstruation: A preliminary report. Comparative Psychiatry, 1961, 2, 20–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Simmons, R. G., and Rosenberg, M. Sex, sex-roles and self-image. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1975, 4, 229–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Simmons, R. G., Rosenberg, F., and Rosenberg, N. Disturbance in the self-image at adolescence. American Sociological Review, 1973, 38, 553–568.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Simmons, R. D., Brown, L., Bush, D. M., and Blyth, D. A. Self-esteem and the achievement of black and white early adolescents. Social Problems, 1978, 26, 86–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sommer, B. Puberty and adolescence. New York: Oxford, 1978.Google Scholar
  42. Tobin-Richards, M. H., and Petersen, A. C. Early adolescents’ perceptions of their physical development. Paper presented in a Symposium on Puberty: Social and Psychological Significance presented at the American Psychological Association Meetings in Los Angeles, CA, September, 1981.Google Scholar
  43. Vollman, R. F. The menstrual cycle. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1977.Google Scholar
  44. Whisnant, L. and Zegans, L. A. A study of attitudes toward menarche in white middle-class American girls. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1975, 132, 809–814.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Wildholm. O. Dysmenorrhea during adolescence. Acta Obstetrica et Gynaecologica Scandinavica, 1979, 87, 61–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wildholm, O., and Kantero, R. L. A statistical analysis of the menstrual patterns of 8,000 girls and their mothers. Acta Obstetrica et Gynaecologica Scandinavica (Suppl.), 1971, 14. Google Scholar
  47. Winter, J. S. D., and Faiman, C. The development of cyclic pituitary and gonadal function in adolescent females. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1973, 37, 714.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Diane N. Ruble
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for the Study of Exceptional ChildrenEducational Testing ServicePrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, College of Physicians and SurgeonsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations