The roots of depression in adolescent girls: Is menarche the key?
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Before adolescence, the rates of depression are similar in girls and boys (or are slightly higher in boys). Yet with the onset of puberty, the gender proportion of depression dramatically shifts to a two girls to one boy ratio. What, then, is the relationship between menarche and the onset of major depression in early adolescence? Recent literature intimates that vulnerability to depression may be rooted in an intricate meld of genetic traits, normal female hormonal maturational processes, and gender socialization. Information regarding gender differences in the presentation of depressive symptoms is provided along with biologic, psychologic, and sociologic factors contributing to depression in adolescent girls. The burden of illness associated with onset of depression after menarche reinforces the importance of prevention or else expeditious recognition and intervention.
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