Father Absence, Body Mass Index, and Pubertal Timing in Girls: Differential Effects by Family Income and Ethnicity

Division of Community Health and Human Development, School of Public Health, University of California-Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 2.75). 05/2011; 48(5):441-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.07.032
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Numerous studies show associations between father absence and girls' early puberty. However, most research has been retrospective, focused on menarche, and failed to consider body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, and income in the analyses. This study resolves these scientific gaps.
This was a prospective study of 444 girls aged 6-8 years and their caregivers (96% mothers). Data were collected annually in clinic, including weight, height, and Tanner stage for breast and pubic hair. Caregivers reported on father absence and demographics. This report focuses on the assessment of father absence at baseline and 2 years of follow-up for pubertal outcomes. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to test whether father absence at baseline predicted pubertal onset by follow-up visit 2. BMI was assumed to be in the causal pathway. Differences by ethnicity and income were examined.
Income and ethnicity moderated associations between father absence and pubertal onset when adjusting for BMI. Father absence predicted earlier onset of breast development only in higher-income families and onset of pubic hair development only in higher-income African Americans families. BMI was not related to father absence and therefore was not in the causal pathway.
Among girls from higher-income families, father absence was linked to earlier puberty. This was particularly true for African Americans in terms of pubic hair development. These effects are not explained by body weight. Future research is needed to identify social and biophysiological mechanisms through which father absence, ethnicity, and income affect the pubertal onset.

  • Source
    Youth &amp Society 01/2012; DOI:10.1177/0044118X12471355 · 1.82 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A powerful longitudinal data source, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Children data, allows measurement of behavior problems (BP) within a developmental perspective linking them to menarcheal timing (MT). In a preliminary analysis, we evaluate the bivariate relationships between BP measured at different developmental periods and the timing of menarche. Correlations were not consistent with any correlational/causal relationship between BP and MT. In the major part of our study, MT was used to moderate the developmental trajectory of BP, within a genetically-informed design. Girls reaching menarche early had behavior problem variance accounted for by the shared environment; those reaching menarche with average/late timing had behavior problem differences accounted for by genetic variance. Our findings match previous empirical results in important ways, and also extend those results. A theoretical interpretation is offered in relation to a theory linking genetic/shared environmental variance to flexibility and choices available within the family in relation to BP.
    Behavior Genetics 09/2014; 45(1). DOI:10.1007/s10519-014-9676-4 · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The age at menarche (AAM) is commonly in use in patients with IS as one of the maturity indicator suggesting deceleration of the growth velocity. The AAM was suggested to be related to predisposition and curve progression potential of IS. The late age at menarche was reported to be associated with higher prevalence of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The age at menarche is determined by both genetic and environmental factors as well as their interactions. Estrogen receptors 1 and 2 polymorphism were reported to be associated with AAM: in ESR1 XbaI and PvuII site polymorphism and in ESR2 AluI site polymorphism.The purpose of the study was to investigate associations of the ESR1 and ESR2 polymorphisms with AAM in IS patients and to evaluate association of AAM with IS severity. 208 females with IS Caucasian females from Central Europe underwent clinical, radiological and genetic examinations. Four SNPs were selected XbaI (A/Grs9340799) and PvuII (C/T rs2234693) in ESR1and AluI (A/G rs4986938) and RasI (A/G rs1256049) in ESR2. Samples were analyzed with polymerase chain reaction followed by restriction fragments length polymorphism analysis (PCR-RFLP). The age of a menarche was established during personal interview with the patients and in case of children with their parents. The Cobb angle was measured. All genotypes followed HWE. Mean AAM for patients was 154.8 ± 14.7 months (12.9 ± 1.2 years). The earliest AAM was 121 and latest 192 months. There was no statistically significant difference between AAM mean values in each genotype, for the XbaI, PvuII, AluI and RsaI site polymorphisms the p values were p = 0.7141, p = 0.9774, p = 0.7973 and p = 0.2282, respectively. Patients divided according to Cobb into mild (<30°), moderate (30°-49°) or severe (≥50°) IS revealed tendency to delay AAM: 151.9 ± 14.7; 155.2 ± 14.8 and 157.9 ± 14.0 months, respectively. There was statistical significant difference between patients with mild <30° and severe ≥50° IS, p = 0.0267. In IS patients estrogen receptors polymorphisms did not show association with the AAM. Patients with severe IS form revealed delayed AAM than patients with mild IS form.
    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 11/2014; 15(1):383. DOI:10.1186/1471-2474-15-383 · 1.90 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 16, 2014