Peripubertal Girls' Romantic and Platonic Involvement With Boys: Associations With Body Image and Depression Symptoms

Authors


Requests for reprints should be sent to Chris Hayward, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 401 Quarry Road, Room 1316; Stanford, CA 94305-5722

Abstract

This study explored the relationship of both romantic and platonic involvement with boys, as well as pubertal status, to body image and depression symptoms among an ethnically diverse sample of sixth-grade girls. Participants were 157 early adolescent girls (ages 10–13) who completed self-report measures designed to assess girls' level of involvement with boys, pubertal status, and psychological adjustment. Girls' degree of romantic involvement was positively associated with higher depression scores. More advanced pubertal status was associated with both lower body image satisfaction and higher depression scores. A significant interaction between platonic involvement and pubertal status emerged. Girls who were less sexually mature but who also reported more platonic involvement with boys reported greater body image satisfaction. These findings suggest that the type of involvement with boys (romantic vs. platonic) and a girl's pubertal status influence psychological adjustment.

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