Girls who go through puberty earlier than their peers may be more vulnerable to abuse from a boyfriend, new research suggests.

These girls were more likely to say a boyfriend had verbally or physically abused them: 32 percent did, versus 28 percent of their peers who went through puberty “on time.”

It’s a small difference, said senior researcher Sara Jaffee, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Clearly, Jaffee pointed out, not all girls who mature early experience dating abuse — and girls who mature later are not immune from it. It’s actually striking that dating abuse was common across the board, she said.

But the findings do suggest that girls who mature early can be more vulnerable, especially if many of their friends are boys.

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