The Surprising Downside of Girls Going Through Puberty Early

May 31, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. ET
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Girls who go through puberty at a younger age are more at risk for dating abuse, according to a new study.

“Clearly, [senior researcher Sara] Jaffee pointed out, not all girls who mature early experience dating abuse — and girls who mature later are not immune from it. It’s actually striking that dating abuse was common across the board, she said,” according to MedlinePlus.

More: What is emotional abuse?

According to the study published in the journal Pediatrics, 32 percent of girls who went through puberty early said that their boyfriend had verbally or physically abused them; only 28 percent of girls who went through puberty at average times said the same.

According to, about 1.5 million high school boys and girls report relationship abuse in the U.S.

The study further emphasizes how one of the contributing factors to the link between early puberty and dating abuse may be the fact that girls who go through puberty earlier may look older than their peers.

More: When teen dating violence hits your family

“When kids look older than they are, some people may expect them to 'act older' than they are,” stated Dr. Nancy Dodson, an adolescent medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, to MedlinePlus.

The research findings encourage parents to open dialogue with their children about what makes up a healthy relationship and look for warning signs that may indicate abusive relationships.

By Vivian Nunez

Originally published on HelloFlo.