Okay, so the link between early menarche (before age 12-ish... I just left it as menstruation in the thread topic because "menarche" was a new word for me) and breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and, depending on the case, ovarian cancer, wasn't really new to me at all. I had never heard of the psychopathology part, though, at least not in this context.
Timing of menarche and depressive symptoms in adolescent girls from a UK cohort -- Joinson et al. 198 (1): 17 -- The British Journal of PsychiatryRelation of early menarche to depression, eating d... [Dev Psychol. 2001] - PubMed result This one talks about before 12.A recent study from the British Journal of Psychiatry found a correlation between early onset of menstruation in girls and higher depression symptoms throughout adolescence. Using data from a longitudinal parent and child study, the researchers took into account age at onset of menstruation and depressive symptoms at ages 10.5, 13, and 14 years in 2,184 girls. Girls with an early onset of menstruation (<11.5 years of age) had higher levels of depression at ages 13 (P=.007) and 14 (P<.001) years compared to girls with a normal onset of menstruation, at age 13.5 years. These findings could support selective early intervention for depressive symptoms, the authors say. First published in Psychiatry Weekly, Volume 6, Issue 2, January 31, 2011Thoughts and side notes:Although there was significant comorbidity across all three classes of pathology, early menarche was associated only with comorbid depression and substance abuse. Results provide partial support for the assertion that early menarche is a general risk factor for psychopathology among adolescent girls but suggest that this risk may not apply to certain disorders and that the effects are modest in size.I just found it really interesting because I started between 10 and 11.I got a thread reply on PerC from an Aspie who started at 15. Did a Google search and found this: Autism: Current Theories and Evidence - Google Books
I kind of figured that the association of early menarche with early sexual activity, substance abuse, and otherwise risky behavior was... well, kind of obvious. At least the sexual activity, anyway.
Epstein and Dumas, who are for the "adolescence is obsolete" stance, have pointed out that there is a link between "infantilization" and behavioral problems in teens.
I'm not saying that early menstruation is automatically mental maturity (HELL, no... especially with children going through puberty sooner and sooner and becoming more and more exposed to the emphasis on sex in the media), but I'm sure that in many cases in the studies, invalidation when mental maturity didn't quite coincide with chronological age had something to do with the depression.
Certain studies (don't remember the actual sources) have shown that teens with more developed brain structures (I don't remember which brain structures, so don't quote me on this) than their peers are more inclined to experiment.
Correlation doesn't imply causation, so let's look at the flip side of this... I've heard of stress-induced menarche to bring about reproductive age sooner, to be more likely to pass on genes before death, so there's one possible reason. Likewise, maybe genes for early menarche evolved into co-morbidity with mental disorders.
Soooooo yeah, I'm pretty sure it's both biological and environmental.
Oh, and also, what do you think of this tidbit right here?
"Delayed menarche has also been observed in females with Asperger syndrome" on page 134.Discuss. I don't know what to add other than that this is really interesting!
More on brain development page 98.