Publication: Transition to puberty as experienced by 12-year-old Swedish girls

Transition to puberty as experienced by 12-year-old Swedish girls.
Rembeck GR, Hermansson EH.
Cairns Australien: Futures of Transitions: Perspectives of Change. From Childhood to Adulthood in self-esteem, body-esteem and identities in the 21st Century; 2008.


Oral presentation. Background Aside from the first two years of life, there are no other periods of human development as intense as early adolescence. Transition in early adolescence has been conceptualized as a developmental period with fundamental changes in life patterns. Transition is characterized by flow and movement and includes identity, roles and relational skills. When girls receive menarche and development of a new body begins they pass from one stage of life to another. Menarche is a unique marker of female maturation representing the transition from childhood to womanhood. This is an important transition. Purpose The purpose of this study was to describe 12-year-old girls' experiences of entering puberty. Method A qualitative approach was used to gather data from focus group interviews, and content analysis was used to identify common themes from the responses of 18 girls. Findings Findings revealed four main themes: (a) growing up--awareness, bodily changes, longing; (b) mother--a close and important relationship; (c) menarche--a personal and important occurrence; and (d) sex and relationships. Discussion Girls sought understanding for their feelings and thoughts during this transition period. Mothers were important to be close at hand and provide understanding. When entering menarche, the girls felt a greater need for integrity. They strongly experienced their sexuality physically and had many questions about sex and their physical changes. They longed to discuss these issues and learn more about sex but stated adults had failed them in this regard because the adults believed the girls were too young for this information. School nurses and youth health centre have opportunities to meet the needs of girls during the transition to puberty.

, from FoU-rådet i Södra Älvsborg