Effect of family disintegration on age at menarche

Alma Toromanović, Husref Tahirović, Collaborators from pediatric centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Abstract


Objective. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of psychosocial factors on the age at menarche of girls in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBH). Subjects and methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted from September 2002 to May 2003 in all Cantons of the FBH. The random stratified sample included 19.803 girls aged 9.0 to 17.5 years. Data were collected using the status quo method. Probit analysis was used to estimate median age at menarche and 95% confidence intervals. Results. The present study shows that menarche occurred significantly earlier (p<0.05) in girls from dysfunctional families (median: 12.99 years, 95% confidence interval: 12.93-13.05) than in girls who grew up in intact families (median: 13.04 years, 95% confidence interval: 13.01-13.07). Analyzing separately the impact of each of family stressors on age at menarche, we found that menarcheal age was significantly lower in girls from single-mother families, whose parents are divorced, whose one parent is died and where alcoholism in family is present than in girls from intact families. Maturation was found to be earlier in girls from dysfunctional families then in those from intact families after the influence of place of residence and sibship size was eliminated. Conclusion. From our research we can conclude that the girls from dysfunctional families reached earlier age at menarche than their peers who grew up in normal families, and that this effect did not disappear after controlling for socioeconomic
variables.


Keywords


Age at menarche; Family disintegration; Psychosocial factors; Familial stress; Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5644/ama2006-124.140

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