Exploring the relationship between timing of menarche and eating disorder symptoms in black and white adolescent girls




This study examined the relationship between timing of sexual maturation and eating disorders symptoms in adolescent girls.


Data were collected over 10 years for a cohort of 1,213 Black girls and 1,166 White girls who were either 9 or 10 years old at study entry. Annually, girls' height and weight were measured and, biannually, girls completed self-report measures of eating disorders symptoms.


Early-onset menarche is a risk factor for the development of body image and dieting concerns, but the effect of timing is due to the impact of early and late maturation on body weight.


Findings underscore the importance of adiposity as a risk factor for poor mental health. © 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 30: 421–433, 2001.