Girls who hit puberty early 'more likely' to suffer with depression adults
Girls who experience puberty sooner than others are more likely to face mental health issues as adults, according to research.
A new study has linked girls who get their periods at a young age with a range of issues like depression, anxiety and eating disorders later in life.
They're also more likely to engage in anti-social behaviour.
Researchers at Cornell University in the US looked at data for 7,800 girls from their teen years through to adulthood.
The data, taken from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, shows when the girls began menstruating and tracked their psychological history into their late twenties.
It had previously been shown that the early onset of puberty could affect a girl's mental health and behaviour in her teen years.
This new study found that these problems were likely to carry on into a girl's twenties and in fact worsen with age.
The researchers believe that rather than being inherently predisposed to suffer mentally or act out, girls who develop at an earlier age may be bullied, sexually harassed or treated as more mature by others.
"What's tricky is because they look older, they start to get treated like they're older," said lead author Jane Mendle.
"But they still have the internal mental workings of their normal chronological age."
The study's authors advised that doctors and parents be aware of the mental health effects of early puberty and how long-lasting these effects can be.