[Gender specific associations between early puberty and behavioral and emotional characteristics in children].


OBJECTIVE: To understand the gender specific association between early puberty and behavioral and emotional characteristics in children. METHODS: The questionnaire survey was conducted among the girls in grade 2-3, boys in grade 3-4 and both girls and boys in grade 7-8 selected through cluster sampling in 2 middle schools and 2 primary schools in Beijing and Shenyang respectively in November 2014. The questionnaire contents included general information, physical activity and video time, pubertal development scale (PDS) and strength and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ). Descriptive statistics were used to describe the prevalence of early puberty and the detection rate of abnormal behavioral problems. The effects of early puberty on behavioral and emotional problems were estimated with univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses. The odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals were calculated. RESULTS: A total of 3253 complete questionnaires were collected, the prevalence of early puberty was 15.9% (518). The detection rate (number) of abnormal emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer relationship problems, pro-social behaviors and total difficulties were 8.3% (269), 9.1% (297), 6.5% (211), 16.4% (534), 9.2% (299) and 13.8% (448) respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that early puberty was the risk factor for conduct problems (OR=2.260, 95% CI: 1.322-3.863) and hyperactivity/inattention (OR=1.980, 95% CI: 1.111-3.527) in the girls, and early puberty was risk factor for total difficulties in boys (95%CI: 1.018-2.063). CONCLUSIONS: Early puberty might increase the risk of conduct problems and hyperactivity/inattention in girls and increase the risk of total difficulties in boys. It is important to conduct gender specific psychological intervention among adolescents for improving their physical and mental health.