International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2023 (Vols. 1-61)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
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'Chopra S, Sharma K, 2011: The development of menstrual-related beliefs and behaviours during adolescence in a Semi Rural Haryana (India): a conceptual and empirical formulation. Anthropologie (Brno) 49, 2: 95-107'.
Data has been collected on a cross-sectional sample of 120 adolescent girls ranging in age from 13 to 18 years. The mean age at menarche of 13.4 years with a standard deviation of 0.99 was estimated by method of recall. The majority of respondents (68%) had no prepubescent knowledge of menarche and its signs and symptoms until they experienced their first menstruation. Many years of school attendance, interaction with peers and access to educational resources and media, seemed to have played little role in helping the young girls to perceive menarche as a natural event. These cultural notions were being reinforced as girls entered their adolescence and were subjected to very strict norms and scrutiny. Parents tended to give limited mobility to adolescent girls to enforce cultural norms. Girl respondents had a lot many concerns and questions related to their identity. They had to cope with new biological and psycho-social realities, as adolescence brings several body and physical changes, and there were restraints placed by the parents, expectations of society to adhere to cultural ethos as expected from the grown up girls to behave in a particular fashion, while no such restrictions were put on males. Results showed that adolescents' expectations of menarche were largely negative and heavily influenced by cultural beliefs about menstruation. The cultural practices associated with menstruation period mainly revolved around the concept of ritual purity and "hot and cold" foods, and food avoidance. Parental education and socioeconomic status were not significant predictors of myths, prevalent taboos and beliefs related to menstruation regarding purity, food avoidance. Lower middle class was more conservative than lower class, middle-, and higher middle classes and were more committed believers of the traditional practices and values.
Menarche - Menstrual attitudes - Cultural beliefs - Taboos - Identity concerns - Emotions

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