The long term study involved 2,184 girls and aimed to find out whether or not early menstruation would have a negative impact further down the line.
The results of the study showed that girls who started their periods before they turned 12 had the highest levels of depressive symptoms when aged 13 and 14, and those who started their periods after the age of 13 had the lowest levels.
Lead research Dr Carol Joinson has said that this may be related to the fact that girls who mature early are not prepared for the sudden onset of hormonal changes which could result in them developing feelings of isolation.
She said: ‘Our study found that girls who mature early are more vulnerable to developing depressive symptoms by the time they reach their mid-teens. This suggests that later maturation may be protective against psychological distress.
‘If girls who reach puberty early are at greater risk of psychological problems in adolescence, it may be possible to help them with school- and family-based programmes aimed at early intervention and prevention.’ She added.