Original Studies| Volume 19, ISSUE 3, P181-187, June 2006

Relationships among Self-Rated Tanner Staging, Hormones, and Psychosocial Factors in Healthy Female Adolescents


      Study Objective

      Females are more likely than males to suffer from various mood and pain disorders. However, this female predominance does not appear to develop until puberty. The purpose of the present study was to examine the associations among hormone concentrations, self-rated Tanner staging and dysmenorrhea, and to determine whether various psychosocial factors modulate these relationships.


      As part of a larger prospective study of the influence of puberty on laboratory pain response, Tanner ratings, estradiol and follicle stimulating hormone concentrations, dysmenorrhea and psychosocial parameters including depression, anxiety, somatization, and socioeconomic status were observed.


      124 healthy girls ages 8 to 18 were evaluated.

      Main Outcome Measure

      There were significant correlations between pubertal status utilizing self-rated diagrams of Tanner stage and hormonal markers of pubertal development, specifically estradiol and FSH. Tanner stage but not estradiol was correlated with presence of dysmenorrhea. There was no effect of body mass index (BMI), socioeconomic status (SES), anxiety, depression, or somatization on presence or absence of painful menses. There was no correlation between BMI or SES and age of menarche. However, Tanner stage was correlated with BMI but not with SES.

      Results and Conclusions

      Tanner self-staging is at least as accurate as estradiol and FSH measurements alone in evaluating healthy female adolescents' physical changes and menstrual pain. Tanner self-ratings are thus particularly useful in large, epidemiologic, or cross cultural studies where physical examination and blood sampling may not be feasible due to cost, access, or psychosocial barriers.

      Key Words

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