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Going through the rites of passage: timing and transition of menarche, childhood sexual abuse, and anxiety symptoms in girls.

  • Author(s): Natsuaki, Misaki N
  • Leve, Leslie D
  • Mendle, Jane
  • et al.
Abstract

Menarche is a discrete, transitional event that holds considerable personal, social, biological, and developmental significance. The present longitudinal study examined both the transition and timing of menarche on the trajectory of anxiety in girls with histories of childhood maltreatment (N = 93; 63% European American, 14% multiracial, 10% Latino, 9% African American, and 4% Native American). We hypothesized that because menarche is a novel, unfamiliar experience, girls would show greater anxiety around the time of menarche. The anxiety-provoking nature of menarche may be accentuated among earlier-maturing girls and girls with histories of childhood sexual abuse. Results indicated that earlier-maturing girls were more anxious in the pre- and peri-menarche periods than their later-maturing peers; however, their anxiety declined after menarche. Childhood sexual abuse was associated with heightened anxiety throughout this transition. The developmental significance of the timing and transition of menarche in relation to childhood sexual abuse and anxiety is discussed.

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