Early Puberty in Girls May Reflect Home Life

"The body needs to be healthy in order to be pregnant, and stress seems to impact health negatively," she said. "What we're seeing is something that doesn't really fit in terms of what we'd expect."

Advice for Parents

So what should parents take away from this research? Ellis, for one, urged caution in overinterpreting the results.

"There are too many unanswered questions to translate this into a blueprint for parents," Ellis said.

But while Graber agreed that the findings are preliminary, they suggest that parents should take special care to ensure a nurturing environment for their children early on.

"The message for parents is that a stressful home environment really does impact children in many detrimental ways," she said.

"There will always be some minor conflicts between parents and children, but parents don't need to worry if there is still that warm, close relationship even as occasional issues come up. But if these children are really in a stressful environment, it is really affecting their health."

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