Variability in Hormone Concentrations and Self-Reported Menstrual Histories in Young Adolescents: Menarche as an Integral Part of a Developmental Process
- Cite this article as:
- Dorn, L.D., Nottelmann, E.D., Susman, E.J. et al. Journal of Youth and Adolescence (1999) 28: 283. doi:10.1023/A:1021680726753
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Menarche has been considered a marker for examining interindividual differences in biobehavioral development and for separating pubertal development into 2 stages. The purpose of this study was (1) to compare hormone concentrations in pre- and postmenarcheal girls to determine whether they fit a continuous or dichotomous model of pubertal development surrounding menarche; and (2) to address methodological issues of variability in self-reports of menstrual histories and reliability in reporting age at menarche. Girls (N = 52) ages 9 to 14 years were enrolled in a longitudinal study. Blood was drawn for hormone concentrations. Menstrual-cycle information was collected by questionnaire and oral report. Discrepancies in reporting of age at menarche ranged from 0 to 18 months and variability was noted in length of cycle. There was great overlap in hormones between pre- and postmenarcheal categories. Future studies might consider menarche as the culmination of underlying developmental processes rather than as a discrete event. Limitations of each measure of puberty should be considered by investigators conducting biobehavioral studies of adolescents.