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Campbell, Benjamin C. & Udry, J. Richard (1995). Stress and Age at Menarche of Mothers and Daughters. Journal of Biosocial Science, 27(2), 127-134.


The hypothesis that psychological stress during early childhood leads to advanced reproductive maturation was assessed using data from the California Childhood Health and Development Study. Regression analyses failed to indicate that bed wetting, nightmares or thumb-sucking at age 5 predict age at menarche, regardless of controls for mother's age at menarche. Among socioeconomic variables suggested as contextual stressors measured at age 9-11 only mother's education was a significant predictor of daughter's age at menarche, though its effect is trivial compared to mother's age at menarche. Path analysis on a subsample of the subjects failed to demonstrate the hypothesised indirect effect of mother's age at menarche on daughter's age at menarche acting through early marriage and marital dissolution. These results cast doubt on the theory that early childhood stress is the key to divergent reproductive strategies among females based on the timing of reproductive maturation.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Biosocial Science


Campbell, Benjamin C.
Udry, J. Richard