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06-10-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2017

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2017

Early Pubertal Timing and Childhood Family Adversity Interact to Predict Newlywed Women’s Anxiety Symptoms

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2017
Jeffrey P. Winer, Sally I. Powers, Paula R. Pietromonaco


The contextual amplification hypothesis posits that girls’ early pubertal timing will predict anxiety and depression symptoms most strongly when early puberty occurs under adverse conditions. Research supporting this hypothesis has consistently linked early pubertal timing occurring in adverse contexts to symptoms during adolescence, but little is known about the link to adult symptoms. The present study examined the extent to which women’s reports of early pubertal timing and childhood family adversity interact to predict symptoms of anxiety and depression during the first two years of marriage. Married women (N = 226) completed questionnaires within 7 months into their first marriage (Time 1) and approximately 19 months later (Time 2). Analyses indicated that at both Time 1 and 2, women’s reports of earlier pubertal timing predicted anxiety symptoms only when women reported a history of greater childhood family adversity. Additional analyses indicated that the interaction of earlier pubertal timing and greater childhood family adversity predicted symptoms of traumatic intrusions and panic, but not social anxiety, at Time 1, and panic symptoms at Times 1 and 2. These findings expand our understanding of the relation of early pubertal timing to adult emotional health and the family conditions that moderate this relation.

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