Online Program

Precocious puberty and permissive partnering: Age at menarche and risky sexual partnerships in adulthood

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:50 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Jennifer Nield, MPH, Ph.D., Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, Division of Epidemiology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Kate L. Lapane, PhD, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA
Derek Chapman, PhD, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, Division of Epidemiology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Brianna Magnusson, PhD, MPH, Health Science Department, Brigham Young Unviersity, Provo, UT
PURPOSE: This study examined the association of menarcheal age and subsequent sexual partnering among American women aged 21-44 years from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth. METHODS: Menarcheal age was defined as "early" (≤11 years of age), "average" (12-14), or "late" (≥15). Sexual partnering was defined as being concurrent, serial monogamist or monogamist in the previous year. Polytomous logistic regression models were developed to evaluate the association between age of menarche and sexual partnering. Mediation, subpopulation and stratified analyses were also conducted. RESULTS: About 6% reported concurrent partnerships and 4% serial monogamy. Age of menarche was not associated with subsequent concurrent sexual partnering (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)early: 1.09; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.57-2.09; aORaverage: 1.13; 95% CI: 0.64-1.99) or serial monogamy (aORearly: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.41-1.38; aOR average: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.39-1.29). Stratified analysis by age at interview did not influence the association between early menarche and concurrency (Among 21-30 year olds: aORearly: 1.82; 95% CI: 0.74-3.50; among 31-44 year olds: aORearly: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.34-1.80) or between menarche and serial monogamy (Among 21-30 year olds: aORearly: 0.68; 95% CI: 0.26-1.75; among 31-44 year olds: aORearly: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.37-2.12). A subanalysis among currently unmarried women did not alter this relationship. Age at sexual debut did not mediate the age at menarche-sexual partnering relationship. CONCLUSIONS: Early menarche is not a risk factor for sexual partnering in adulthood. However, menarche provides an opportunity for education that can aid young women to delay sexual debut and limit number of partners.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the biosocial and ecological factors associated with menarche, particularly early menarche. Identify the association between early menarche and subsequent early sexual debut. Discuss potential reproductive and sexual health education interventions aimed at both pre-menarcheal and pubertal girls.

Keyword(s): Reproductive Health Research, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology with 8 years of research experience and am the author of several peer-reviewed publications in this area.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.