Relationship Problems Damaging to Teen Girls’ Mental Health

relationship problemsA recent study has surprised researchers, as it  found that relationship problems can lead to serious negative implications for teen girls’ mental health.[1]

“I found that girls’ risk of severe depression, thoughts of suicide, and suicide attempts increase the more their relationships diverge from what they imagined,” said the study’s author Brian Soller, PhD. “Conversely, I found no evidence that romantic relationship inauthenticity—which captures the extent to which relationships unfold in ways that are inconsistent with how adolescents think or feel they should—contributes to poor mental health among boys.”1

Soller used the data from more than 5,300 high school students from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.1 He examined the mental health consequences of mismatches between adolescents’ ideal and actual relationships.1 Soller compared how adolescents described their ideal relationship in the initial interview with how their first relationship after the interview actually played out.1

“In the initial interview, researchers provided adolescents with a number of cards describing events that often occur within relationships, including everything from hand-holding and kissing to sex,” said Soller.1

Respondents kept the cards that described the events they would engage in within an ideal relationship and indicated the order in which the events would occur.1 A year later, the respondents repeated the exercise, but this time they indicated which events took place within their relationship and provided the order in which the events transpired.1 Mental health was observed during both interviews.1

“Romantic relationships are particularly important components of girls’ identities and are, therefore, strongly related to how they feel about themselves—good or bad,” said Soller. “As a result, relationships that diverge from what girls envision for themselves are especially damaging to their emotional well-being.”1

On the other hand, relationships are not as important to boys.1

“Boys may be more likely to build their identities around sports or other extracurricular activities, so this could be why they are not affected by relationship inauthenticity,” said Soller.1

Parents, educators, and policymakers should begin to think about how to help teen girls construct identities that are less closely tied to romantic involvement.1

“Helping girls build their identities around things other than romantic relationships may mitigate the effects of relationship inauthenticity on their mental health,” said Soller.1

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Relationship Problems Can Damage Teen Girls’ Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/16/relationship-problems-can-damage-teen-girls-mental-health/68579.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We are the only facility in Florida owned and operated by an addiction psychiatrist involved in all treatment decisions. Learn more
Hello. Add your message here.