FAQ - How does depression affect adolescent girls?

How does depression affect adolescent girls?

Before adolescence, girls and boys experience depression at about the same frequency. By adolescence, however, girls become more likely to experience depression than boys.

Research points to several possible reasons for this imbalance. The biological and hormonal changes that occur during puberty likely contribute to the sharp increase in rates of depression among adolescent girls. In addition, research has suggested that girls are more likely than boys to continue feeling bad after experiencing difficult situations or events, suggesting they are more prone to depression. Another study found that girls tended to doubt themselves, doubt their problem-solving abilities and view their problems as unsolvable more so than boys. The girls with these views were more likely to have depressive symptoms as well. Girls also tended to need a higher degree of approval and success to feel secure than boys.

Finally, girls may undergo more hardships, such as poverty, poor education, childhood sexual abuse, and other traumas than boys. One study found that more than 70 percent of depressed girls experienced a diffi cult or stressful life event prior to a depressive episode, as compared with only 14 percent of boys.