Girls who have an absent father are more likely to undergo puberty at an early age.
This is according to a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of California in Berkeley.
The report revealed that girls often developed public hair and breasts earlier when their biological father did not live with them.
The findings of the research still held true when other factors, such as weight, were included in the equation.
Julianna Deardorff, lead author of the study and assistant professor of maternal and child health at the university, commented: "While overweight and obesity alter the timing of girls' puberty, those factors don't explain all of the variance in pubertal timing.
"The results from our study suggest that familial and contextual factors - independent of body mass index - have an important effect on girls' pubertal timing."
However, the study, which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, did not detect the same association outside of higher income families.