Research has determined that depression in young women is directly linked to low levels of self-esteem. Diminished feelings of personal worth can lead to depression, and this relationship works in reverse as well. The emotional roller coaster of the teen years is challenging enough, but when your daughter lacks a healthy confidence level, the risk of mental health challenges increases proportionally. Read on for more about the relationship between self-esteem and depression in young women.
What Is Self-Esteem?
At its simplest, levels of self-esteem refer to the degree to which people like and value themselves. A high appraisal of self-worth translates to an increased level of confidence. Low levels of confidence have been associated with a variety of dangerous and damaging behaviors in adolescence, including substance abuse, an early onset of sexual activity, eating disorders and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Loss of Self-Esteem
During adolescence, when girls begin developing their own identities, self-confidence may decline for a variety of reasons. Girls who objectify the physical body, for example, are more likely to experience feelings of reduced self-worth. Cultural expectations and social acceptance among peer groups are common reasons for self-doubt as well, as are emotional and physical abuse. The difference between girls and boys during this time is alarming. Almost twice as many high school-age boys as girls report being happy with the way they are.
The Link to Depression
Several recent, longitudinal studies indicate that teens with reduced confidence are more prone to developing depression in adulthood. This demonstrates the importance of resilience and the confidence it inspires in young women. The teenage years are a difficult time for many girls, both on an emotional and psychological level. Teens will struggle with self-image from time to time, and hormonal shifts can affect emotions. The risk emerges when self-worth remains low for extended periods of time, or experiences a consistent decline over time.
How to Boost Confidence in Your Teen
As a parent, one of the most important things you can do for your daughter is bolster her feelings of self-confidence and self-worth. Learn more about the links between a young woman’s perception of identity, confidence and depression and how to recognize the warning signs. Learn self-help techniques and share them with your teen. Finally, never underestimate the importance of modeling healthy and confident behaviors yourself.
Although you can do much to help your daughter navigate the difficult tween and teen years, some challenges require more help than you can personally give. Havenwood Academy provides customized residential treatment programs for girls ages 12 to 17. Their compassionate team can help guide you and your teen to a healthy, happy future. Contact them today to learn more about the link between self-esteem and depression in young women.