If you’re a parent of a daughter, you are probably aware of the alarming statistics that show growing anxiety in teen girls. Today, nearly a third of teenagers and 38% of teenage girls experience symptoms of anxiety disorder. Social media and mounting pressure put on girls to perform academically, socially and in other areas have contributed to this rise in what is truly a mental health crisis for our youth today.
This might surprise you. You might think the source of your child’s anxiety is school or Instagram or body-image issues, and all of this could be the case, but when a teenage girl has a close friend or two whom she can confide in about these issues, she is much better off than a teen girl who is isolated from her peers. And having a lot of Instagram followers does not mean she has friends.
Research proves that girls don’t need a lot of friends to attain the mental health benefits of friendship. In fact, having fewer but deeper friendships could be key. New research published in the mental health journal Child Development shows that teens aged 15 and 16 who had one close friend, rather than a bigger peer group featuring less intense relationships, reported higher levels of self-worth and lower levels of social anxiety and depression at age 25 when compared with their peers who were more broadly popular as teens.