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dc.contributor.authorSteppan, Martin
dc.contributor.authorWhitehead, Ross David
dc.contributor.authorMcEachran, Juliet
dc.contributor.authorCurrie, Candace Evelyn
dc.identifier.citationSteppan , M , Whitehead , R D , McEachran , J & Currie , C E 2019 , ' Family composition and age at menarche : findings from the International Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study ' , Reproductive Health , vol. 16 , 176 .
dc.descriptionThis research was funded by The University of St Andrews and NHS Health Scotland.en
dc.description.abstractBackground Early menarche has been associated with father absence, stepfather presence and adverse health consequences in later life. This article assesses the association of different family compositions with the age at menarche. Pathways are explored which may explain any association between family characteristics and pubertal timing. Methods Cross-sectional, international data on the age at menarche, family structure and covariates (age, psychosomatic complaints, media consumption, physical activity) were collected from the 2009–2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey. The sample focuses on 15-year old girls comprising 36,175 individuals across 40 countries in Europe and North America (N = 21,075 for age at menarche). The study examined the association of different family characteristics with age at menarche. Regression and path analyses were applied incorporating multilevel techniques to adjust for the nested nature of data within countries. Results Living with mother (Cohen’s d = .12), father (d = .08), brothers (d = .04) and sisters (d = .06) are independently associated with later age at menarche. Living in a foster home (d = −.16), with ‘someone else’ (d = −.11), stepmother (d = −.10) or stepfather (d = −.06) was associated with earlier menarche. Path models show that up to 89% of these effects can be explained through lifestyle and psychological variables. Conclusions Earlier menarche is reported amongst those with living conditions other than a family consisting of two biological parents. This can partly be explained by girls’ higher Body Mass Index in these families which is a biological determinant of early menarche. Lower physical activity and elevated psychosomatic complaints were also more often found in girls in these family environments.
dc.relation.ispartofReproductive Healthen
dc.subjectAge at menarcheen
dc.subjectPsychological and psychosomatic problemsen
dc.subjectFamily structureen
dc.subjectBody mass indexen
dc.subjectLife history theoryen
dc.subjectPubertal timingen
dc.subjectBF Psychologyen
dc.subjectHQ The family. Marriage. Womanen
dc.subjectRJ101 Child Health. Child health servicesen
dc.titleFamily composition and age at menarche : findings from the International Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Studyen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Population and Behavioural Science Divisionen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Medicineen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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