Changes in representation of body image as a function of menarcheal status

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Investigated the significance of menarche for girls' body image and sexual identification by assessing human figure drawings produced by 87 adolescent girls on 2 occasions, 6 mo apart. Three groups of Ss were studied: girls who were premenarcheal on both test occasions, girls who were postmenarcheal on both test occasions, and girls who changed menarcheal status between the 2 test administrations. Parallel results were obtained from both longitudinal and cross-sectional comparisons of pre- vs postmenarcheal girls. Postmenarcheal girls produced more sexually differentiated human figure drawings and more frequently drew their own sex first when asked to draw a person. Postmenarcheal, as compared to premenarcheal, girls indicated greater satisfaction with “female” body parts on a modified body-cathexis scale. These data confirm clinical speculations that menarche is a pivotal event for reorganization of the adolescent girl's body image and sexual identity. (31 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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