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Age at Menarche, Reactions to Menarche and Attitudes towards Menstruation among Mexican Adolescent Girls

  • Ma Luisa Marván
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Ma Luisa Marván, PhD, Instituto de Investigaciones Psicológicas, Universidad Veracruzana, Av. Dr. Luis Castelazo Ayala s/n, Col. Industrial Ánimas, Xalapa, Ver. 91190, Mexico; Phone: +52 (228)841-89-00 ext. 13210
    Affiliations
    Institute of Psychological Research, Universidad Veracruzana, México
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  • Verónica Alcalá-Herrera
    Affiliations
    Psychology School, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, México, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, México, Institute of Psychological Research, Universidad Veracruzana, México
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      Abstract

      Objective

      To investigate the relationships between menarcheal timing and both menarcheal experience and attitudes toward menstruation in Mexican girls.

      Design

      Cross-sectional survey.

      Settings

      Sample of adolescents attending 10 different public schools.

      Participants

      Mexican postmenarcheal adolescents, aged 11-16 years.

      Intervention

      Participants answered 1 questionnaire about menarcheal experience and another about attitudes towards menstruation.

      Results

      Early maturers (menarche before 11 years) were more likely than average (menarche at 11 or 12 years) or late maturers (menarche at 13 or more years) to state they had not known what they should do at the moment they got their first period (P < .01), that they had not felt prepared to start menstruating (P < .05), and that they thought they must keep secret the fact of already having had their first period (P < .05). Concerning their emotional reactions to menarche, early maturers were the most likely to have felt scared (P < .05), worried (P < .05) and sad (P < .05) and were the least likely to have felt calm (P < .05). They were also the most likely to show current secretive attitudes towards menstruation (P < .01). Finally, late maturers showed more positive attitudes toward menstruation than their peers (P < .01).

      Conclusions

      These results could be useful for developing resources to help early maturing girls manage menstruation. Since these girls have limited or in some cases no time for preparation, they need special support.

      Key Words

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