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Minerva Pediatrica 2016 February;68(1):11-8


lingua: Inglese

Body experiences and psychopathology in idiopathic central precocious and early puberty

Renata NACINOVICH 1, Fabio BUZI 2, Silvia OGGIANO 1, Sara ROSSI 1, Silvia SPADA 3, Fiorenza BROGGI 1, Alba PILOTTA 4, Francesca NERI 1, Monica BOMBA 1

1 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Department San Gerardo Hospital, Monza Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Monza, Italy; 2 Unit of Pediatrics, Azienda Ospedaliera “Carlo Poma”, Mantova, Italy; 3 Unit of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Ospedale dei Bambini Azienda Spedali Civili di Brescia, Brescia, Italy; 4 Auxoendocrinology Day Hospital Pediatric Department, Ospedale dei Bambini Azienda Spedali Civili di Brescia, Brescia, Italy


BACKGROUND: Idiopathic central precocious (PP) and early puberty (EP) are frequently associated with psychopathological problems. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of body experiences and psychological aspects in girls with PP and EP, as well as the impact of these conditions on their families and the subjects’ vulnerability.
METHODS: Subjects with PP or EP, aged 7-15 years, were evaluated through the administration of a self-report questionnaire (Children’s Depression Inventory, CDI), along with a projective test (Human Figure Drawing Test, HFDT). Their parents filled in a questionnaire about their child’s behavior (Child Behavior Checklist 4-18, CBCL).
RESULTS: Twenty-nine girls with PP or EP were compared to 55 age-matched healthy girls. The 13.8% of subjects with EP or PP presented depressive traits, and the 48.3% reported suicidal thoughts at the CDI (vs. controls: P<0.05). At the HFDT, a lower psychological maturity and a more negative self-image, that determine a vulnerability to psychopathology and mental suffering, were observed in those subjects with a past EP or PP, who entered in adolescence.
CONCLUSION: EP and PP are complex conditions, which combine somatic symptoms with negative psychological sequelae, including an increased risk for depression and a distorted body perception. The use of projective tests for the assessment of body perception might help the clinician come to a deeper understanding of the therapeutic needs of girls with PP or EP.

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