Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Effects of war exposure on pubertal development in refugee children
Authors: Black, Candace J
McEwen, Fiona S
Smeeth, Demelza
Popham, Cassandra M
Karam, Elie G.
Pluess, Michael
Affiliations: Faculty of Medicine 
Keywords: Conflict
Issue Date: 2023-09
Publisher: National Library of Medicine
Part of: Developmental Psychology
Volume: 59
Issue: 9
Start page: 1559
End page: 1572
Increasing research shows pubertal development accelerates following threats while it decelerates following deprivation. Yet, these environmental stressors are unlikely to occur in isolation. We investigated how war exposure and energetic stress impact pubertal development using data from the longitudinal Biological Pathways of Risk and Resilience in Syrian Refugee Children study. Our sample included 1,600 male and female Syrian refugee children and their caregivers who lived in temporary settlements in Lebanon. We hypothesized that (a) energetic stress suppresses pubertal development; (b) war exposure accelerates pubertal timing in boys and increases risk of menarche in girls, but only when energetic stress is low; and (c) when energetic stress is elevated, effects of war exposure on pubertal development will be attenuated. Among boys, we did not find support for Hypothesis 1, but Hypotheses 2 and 3 were supported. Exposure to morbidity/mortality threats accelerated pubertal timing; this effect was attenuated under conditions of elevated energetic stress. Among girls, we found support for Hypothesis 1, but not for Hypotheses 2 and 3. Elevated energetic stress decreased the risk of menarche in girls. Neither war exposure, nor any interactions with energetic stress, predicted risk of menarche. Sensitivity analyses revealed a significant interaction between bombing exposure and the amount of time since leaving Syria. Bombing decreased the risk of menarche, but only for girls who had left Syria four or more years prior to data collection. We discuss implications for translational efforts advocating for puberty screening in medical and mental health settings to identify trauma-exposed youth. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).
ISSN: 00121649
DOI: 10.1037/dev0001569
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Medicine

Show full item record

Record view(s)

checked on Jun 20, 2024

Google ScholarTM


Dimensions Altmetric

Dimensions Altmetric

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.