Zee Media Bureau
New York: A new study has claimed that kids who enter puberty ahead of their peers are at higher risks of depression.
Although both sexes are at risk, depression typically develops differently in girls than in boys, said the researchers.
“It is often believed that going through puberty earlier than peers only contributes to depression in girls,” said study author Karen Rudolph from University of Illinois.
“We found that early maturation can also be a risk for boys as they progress through adolescence, but the timing is different than in girls,” Rudolph added.
Youth who entered puberty ahead of their peers were vulnerable to a number of risks that were associated with depression.
The researchers found that they had poorer self-images; greater anxiety; social problems, including conflict with family members and peers; and tended to befriend peers who were prone to getting into trouble.
To come to the conclusion, the researchers measured pubertal timing and tracked levels of depression among more than 160 youth over a four-year period.
“Although early maturation seemed to protect boys from the challenges of puberty initially, boys experienced an emerging cascade of personal and contextual risks as they move through adolescence,” Rudolph stressed.
The research is one of the first to confirm that early puberty increases risk for depression in both sexes over time.
The study has been published in the journal Development and Psychopathology.