Association Between Early and Late Timing of Menarche and Early Childhood Adversity Experienced at Years 3 and 5 Open Access

Cruz, Larissa (Spring 2020)

Permanent URL:


Background: Exposure to early childhood adversities has been associated across a range of short- and long-term health outcomes. One such outcome that remains to be understood is pubertal timing and specifically onset of menarche. Mixed results have made it difficult to conclude which adversities and the degree of exposure strong enough to influences pubertal maturation and consequently timing of menarche.

Methods: The data utilized were from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Child adversity measures were collected during years 3 and 5 from mother or parent/caregiver surveys. Adversities assessed include, child physical and emotional abuse, child neglect, parental interpersonal violence, paternal incarceration, maternal substance use, maternal depression, housing instability, and food insecurity. Age of first menstruation was self-reported at year 15. Demographic information was collected at baseline and body mass index measures were recorded at age 9. Polytomous regression analysis were conducted to determine whether there was evidence of an association between cumulative adversity or individual adversities and irregular timing of menarche, either late or early.

Results: There was no association between cumulative adversity and early (odds ratio [OR]:1.06 [95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.96-1.18]) or late menarche (OR: .97 [95%CI: 0.85-1.11]). IPV was the only adversity construct significantly associated with early timing of menarche (OR: 1.56 [95%CI: 1.11-2.19], p = .01). Adversities measuring parental relationships and wellbeing, paternal incarceration, maternal substance use, and maternal depression, had the highest associations with timing of menarche, although not statistically significant. Remaining individual adversities were found to not be significantly associated with timing of menarche.

Conclusions: There is evidence a potential pattern between parental measures and timing of menarche. These measures had the higher measures of association and has been documented in the literature. Further analyses utilizing larger samples and more precise measures are needed to improve understanding of this association and the pathway linked between this type of child adversity and puberty measure.  

Table of Contents

Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Table 1 . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Table 2 . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Table 3 . . . . . . . . . . . 14

References . . . . . . . 15

About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
Subfield / Discipline
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files