The authors set out to assemble and review the psychology and related research and literature for the past 10 years, with special attention to strengths, challenges, and choices within the contexts of girls' lives.
Challenged to consider and move beyond an exploration of girls' psychological losses and to focus on those aspects of relationship and culture that support and engage girls-as well as girls' collective attempts to resist the negative impact of the media and other powerful, societal forces-the authors attempted to answer questions such as the following: In developing this book, the authors focused on several cross-cutting themes: strengths, development, ethnicity, class, risks, resilience, and research implications.
To make the rich, diverse voices of actual girls in the United States heard above the statistics, questions from a research survey conducted by the task force on adolescent girls are included in this research agenda.
A summary of the survey, "The State of the Hearts of Adolescent Girls," is found at the end of this research agenda.
Although research shows that self-esteem decreases for both sexes after elementary school, the drop is more dramatic for girls.
Compared with boys of the same age, adolescent girls are more anxious and stressed, experience diminished academic achievement, suffer from increased depression and lower self-esteem, experience more body dissatisfaction and distress over their looks, suffer from greater numbers of eating disorders, and attempt suicide more frequently.
Important sources of resistance to and liberation from negative cultural messages for adolescent girls include the following: a strong ethnic identity, close connections to family, learning positive messages about oneself, trusting oneself as a source of knowledge, speaking one's mind, participation in athletics, non-traditional sex typing, feminist ideas, and assertive female role models.
Between the ages of 8 and 11 years, girls tend to be androgynous.Although the current day risks and stresses in the lives of adolescent girls must be understood, they should not be the defining factors in discussions of adolescent girls.There must be a focus on what is working for adolescent girls, and why to assist adolescent girls in navigating these risks during their development.Girls have higher expectations of success than boys in their general academic abilities across domains and in their social skills, whereas boys are more confident about their math and sports abilities.High school senior girls and boys are equally confident of their success in business and law and in their leadership, independence, intellectual, and computer skills.