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The link between sexual maturation, or pubertal timing, in girls and adolescent depressive symptoms is well-documented, but the underlying processes remain unclear. We examined whether sexual harassment, which has previously been linked to both pubertal timing and depressive symptoms, mediates this link, using a two-wave longitudinal study including 454 girls in 7th (M age = 13.42, SD = .53) and 8th grade (M age = 14.42, SD = .55). Pubertal timing was linked to depressive symptoms in both age groups, and predicted an increase in depressive symptoms among the 7th graders. Sexual harassment significantly mediated the link between pubertal timing and depressive symptoms among the 7th, but not the 8th grade girls. Together, our findings suggest that one way to prevent depressive symptoms among early-maturing girls could be to address sexual harassment in preventive intervention in early adolescence.
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- Understanding the Link Between Pubertal Timing in Girls and the Development of Depressive Symptoms: The Role of Sexual Harassment
Sevgi Bayram Özdemir
- Springer US