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Early menarche and its relationship to paternal migrant work among middle-school-aged students in China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2019

Bingzheng Zhang
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
Ting Yu
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
Qiuxing Chen
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
Kaye Wellings
Affiliation:
Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
Theresa M. Oniffrey
Affiliation:
Cerus Consulting, LLC, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
Junrui Ma
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
Limin Huang
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
Suiqiong Fan
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
Lu Ma
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
Rui Li
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
Yuliang Zou*
Affiliation:
Department of Health Management, Wuhan University School of Health Sciences, Wuhan, China
*
*Corresponding author. Email: zouyl@whu.edu.cn

Abstract

Associations have been shown between father’s absence and menarcheal age, but most studies have focused on absence resulting from divorce, abandonment or death. Little research has been conducted to evaluate the effect on menarcheal age of paternal absence through migrant work. In a sample of 400 middle school students, this study examined the association between paternal migrant work and menarcheal age against a backdrop of extensive rural-to-urban migration in China. Data were collected through a self-reported questionnaire, including social-demographic characteristics, aspects of family relationships, information about father’s migrant work and age at menarche. After adjusting for BMI, parent marital status and perceived relationship with mother, lower self-perceived quality of father–daughter relationship (both ‘father present, relationship poor’ and ‘father absent, relationship poor’) and lower frequency of contact with the father were associated with higher odds for early menarche. These findings suggest that the assumption that father’s absence for work influences the timing of menarche needs to be examined in the context of the quality of the father–daughter relationship and paternal care, which appear to play a critical role in the timing of menarche. These findings also emphasize the importance of enhancing paternal involvement and improving father–daughter relationships in the development of appropriate reproductive strategy in daughters.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2019 

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Footnotes

These authors contributed equally to this work.

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