Can gender predict how vulnerable a teen might be to stress, anxiety, or depression? A new study investigates the difference between boys and girls when it comes to self-esteem and emotional states.
In previous studies, teen girls have been found to experience more stress, anxiety and depression than boys do. This difference increases in middle to late adolescence. When it comes to self-esteem, this recent study proved teenage girls may have a lower self-esteem than teenage boys.
For this study, researchers studied over 1500 Norwegian teens attending public schools. The study was conducted on 769 girls and 735 boys who ranged in age from 13-18 years. Participation was voluntary, anonymous, and confidential. The teens completed questionnaires on anxiety, depression, stress, and self-esteem. Statistics were analyzed for gender and age differences.
In support of the evidence, results showed that teen girls experienced more stress, anxiety, and depression, while boys scored higher on self-esteem. High self-esteem was significantly linked with lower rates of depression, in particular. Why? The research team suggests that girls may be more emotionally invested in popularity with their peers. Boys seem to be less concerned about being viewed negatively by their peers.
Adolescence is marked by thrills and struggles. At this turbulent stage of life, teens become increasingly self-conscious. Self-esteem is important to developing self-understanding during this time. When levels of stress naturally rise for teens, having a healthy self-esteem can help them cope more effectively.
Ways to help build your teen’s self-esteem:
- Acknowledge your teen’s strengths.
- Encourage self-care and exercise.
- Help your teen choose positive influences in friends.
- Be a good role model.
- Help make your teen’s living space comfortable.
- Encourage your teen to learn something new or improve a skill.
- Be a good listener.
- Help your teen set achievable goals.
The scientists caution that these findings are not consistent across other studies and that further research is needed. According to Unni K. Moksnes and colleagues, identifying the link between stress, emotional states, and self-esteem is a step toward developing ways to prevent stress-related health problems in teens.