Date of Conferral





Human Services


Shari Jorissen


Some early puberty girls engage in high-risk externalizing behaviors such as early sexual activity, delinquent behavior, and disruptive behaviors. Harsh parenting experienced by girls who develop early has been associated with delinquent and disruptive behaviors. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to examine predictive relationships between the style of parental discipline by mothers of early puberty girls and the likelihood and frequency of the girls' engagement in high-risk behaviors. Parenting style theory, including the authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive style of parenting, served as the theoretical foundation for the study. Survey data were collected from 28 mothers who identified as having a daughter who experienced early puberty. The Parenting Scale subscales were used to measure the dysfunctional parenting behaviors of laxness, overreactivity, and verbosity. Logistic regression analysis revealed no statistically significant relationships between the early puberty girl's involvement in risky behaviors and dysfunctional parenting. Results may be used by human service and public health officials to increase awareness of early puberty and to promote public health policies to address the individual, social, and economic implications of early puberty in girls.