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Adverse Childhood Experiences and Early Pubertal Timing Among Girls: A Meta-Analysis

Department of Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, 81th Meishan Road, Hefei 230032, Anhui Province, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2887;
Received: 24 July 2019 / Revised: 5 August 2019 / Accepted: 10 August 2019 / Published: 13 August 2019
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The association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and pubertal timing has been a topic of enduring controversy. A systematic search of PubMed and Web of Science databases was undertaken to quantify the magnitude of total and specific forms of ACEs effects on early pubertal timing among girls. Our search identified 3280 records, of which 43 studies with 46 independent data sets met inclusion criteria. We estimated pooled effect sizes (Cohen’s ds) for the association between ACEs with early pubertal timing. Total ACEs was not associated with early pubertal timing. When we examined the specific types of ACEs, associations were small to medium for father absence (d = −0.40, 95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.63, −0.16) and small for sexual abuse (d = −0.13, CI: −0.17, −0.10) and family dysfunction (d = −0.08, CI: −0.11, −0.02). We identified considerable heterogeneity between estimates for almost all of the outcomes. ACEs exposure may affect female reproductive reproduction, particularly father absence, sexual abuse, and family dysfunction. We propose that future research in this area test a theoretical model linking adversity with earlier reproductive strategy, which includes early pubertal timing as a core component linking early adversity and stress physiology with poor health outcomes later in life in females. View Full-Text
Keywords: abuse; pubertal timing; adversity; adverse childhood experiences; meta-analysis abuse; pubertal timing; adversity; adverse childhood experiences; meta-analysis

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Zhang, L.; Zhang, D.; Sun, Y. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Early Pubertal Timing Among Girls: A Meta-Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2887.

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