Race and Perceived Pubertal Transition Effects on Girls' Depressive Symptoms and Delinquent Behaviors

Rona Carter, Wendy K. Silverman, James Jaccard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Most past research on the effects of early pubertal timing on girls' depressive symptoms and delinquent behavior has focused on either age of menarche or has combined multiple indicators of development into a single index of puberty. Past research has rarely examined both the onset of puberty such as age of menarche, as well more psychologically mediated impressions of puberty (i.e., perceived pubertal timing) within the same study. This study extends past research on racial differences and pubertal related effects on girls' depressive symptoms and delinquent behavior by examining the independent influence of different indicators of puberty (age of menarche, development of breasts, and perceived pubertal timing). Two waves of data (100 % females) were used from African Americans (N = 481) and European Americans (N = 1259) who were enrolled in seventh- and eighth-grade during the first wave of data collection in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Early age of menarche was associated with high levels of depressive symptoms at Wave 1. Additionally, both early and late perceived pubertal timing were associated with high levels of depressive symptoms and high delinquent behaviors at Wave 1. The structural relationships among these variables were similar for African Americans and European Americans. Age of menarche and perceived pubertal timing influenced depressive symptoms and delinquent behavior at Wave 2 through depressive symptoms and delinquent behavior reported at Wave 1. The implications of these findings are discussed with an emphasis on how the specific indicator used to assess puberty is important in efforts to understand pubertal timing effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1168
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume42
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

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puberty
Menarche
Puberty
Depression
African Americans
National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health
Research
longitudinal study
adolescent
Breast
health

Keywords

  • Adolescent girls
  • Delinquent behaviors
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Perceived puberty
  • Pubertal timing
  • Race differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Race and Perceived Pubertal Transition Effects on Girls' Depressive Symptoms and Delinquent Behaviors. / Carter, Rona; Silverman, Wendy K.; Jaccard, James.

In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 42, No. 8, 08.2013, p. 1155-1168.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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