Can dads influence when daughter enters puberty? I first ran across this article while reading the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, most recently I found this post on the Daddy’ Dazed Blog-a blog that boast a place for dads to chat, moan and get things off their chest. A new study has shown that girls are reaching puberty sooner than expected.
While we have heard this over and over for the last few years, this study is significant. It is reported that the decrease in start of puberty is seen primarily in the United States. Scientists felt that the data might not have been statistically significant. Instead, they felt the disparity was due to different sampling and data collection techniques. But in this latest study, Europe is now seeing the decrease in age of menarche and breast development, according to the New York Times.
This has given many of the investigators reason to believe that it is environmental factors causing the early onset of puberty. What environmental factors? Could there be a correlation between father influence and the onset of puberty?
I am certain readers will have very diverse opinions about this subject, your reaction and responses are welcomed
A young girl’s relationship with her family, especially with her father, may influence at what age she enters puberty, according to studies. Researchers at an American University found that girls who had close, positive relationships with their parents during the first five years of life tended to experience relatively late puberty, compared to girls who had more distant relationships with their parents. More specifically, the researchers found that the quality of fathers’ involvement with daughters was the most important feature of the early family environment in relation to the timing of the daughters’ puberty. Girls who entered puberty later generally had fathers who were active participants in care-giving; were supportive to the girls’ mothers; and had positive relationships with their mothers. Girls raised in father-absent homes or dysfunctional father-present homes in contrast experienced relatively early pubertal timing.
The researchers believe that girls have evolved to experience early socialization, with their “antennae” tuned to the fathers’ role in the family (both in terms of father-daughter and father-mother relationships) and that girls may unconsciously adjust their timing of puberty based on their fathers’ behaviour. Its not known why this occurs but one biological explanation is based on the girl’s exposure to pheromones. In this theory girls whose fathers are not present in the home may be exposed to other adult males – stepfathers or their mothers’ boyfriends – and that exposure to pheromones produced by unrelated adult males accelerates female pubertal development.m
The flip side of that theory is that girls who live with their biological fathers in a positive environment are exposed to his pheromones and are inhibited from puberty, perhaps as a natural incest avoidance mechanism. Girls who live with their fathers but have a cold or distant relationship with them would not be exposed to their fathers’ pheromones as much as girls who have more interaction with their fathers, therefore causing the girls in the distant relationship to reach puberty earlier, the researchers hypothesize.
Who did this research?
The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1999. Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville conducted the study. Written by: Bruce Ellis, a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University; Stephen McFadyen-Ketchum, adjunct assistant professor of psychology at Vanderbilt; Kenneth Dodge, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt; Gregory Pettit of Auburn University; and John E. Bates of Indiana University. The study looked at 173 girls and their families from Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn. and Bloomington, Ind. from the time the girls were in pre-kindergarten until they were in the seventh grade. The research was funded by National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Development. For more news about Vanderbilt their Web site a http://www.vanderbilt.edu/News.
© 2011, Karen Davis-Johnson, M.A., Editor for The Journal of Father Daughter Communications. All rights reserved.JFDC
Dads can influence when daughter enters puberty: http://daddydazed.com/about-daddy-dazed-contact/
girls are maturing at faster ratesby jenniferj : http://thegoldenspiral.org/2009/05/06/girls-are-maturing-at-faster-rates/