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11 Facts About Teens and Self Esteem

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Welcome to DoSomething.org, a global movement of millions of young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, Do Something! Find out how to take action here.

  1. Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which an individual views him/herself as inadequate, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior.^[Neuman, M.D., Fredric. "Low Self-esteem." Psychology Today. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fighting-fear/201304/low-self-esteem.]
  2. Among high school students, 44% of girls and 15% of guys are attempting to lose weight.^[Council On Alcoholism And Drug Abuse. "Image and Self Esteem." Mentor Resource Center. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://mentor-center.org/image-and-self-esteem/.]
  3. Over 70% of girls age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks. Brighten someone’s day by posting encouraging messages on your school’s bathroom mirrors. Sign up for Mirror Messages.^["Brands in Action: Dove." Unilever USA. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://www.unileverusa.com/brands-in-action/detail/Dove-/298217/.]
  4. More than 40% of boys in middle school and high school regularly exercise with the goal of increasing muscle mass.^[Quenqua, Douglas. "Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession." The New York Times. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/19/health/teenage-boys-worried-about-body-image-take-risks.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.]
  5. 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25% of girls with high self-esteem.^[PR Newswire Association LLC. . "New National Report Reveals the High Price of Low Self-Esteem." Dove Self-Esteem Fund. Assessed March 2, 2014. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-national-report-reveals-the-high-price-of-low-self-esteem-65355592.html.]
  6. About 20% of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.^[Borchard, Therese J.. "Why are so Many Teens Depressed?." Psychcentral. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/03/04/why-are-so-many-teens-depressed/.]
  7. Teen girls that have a negative view of themselves are 4 times more likely to take part in activities with boys that they've ended up regretting later.^[Council On Alcoholism And Drug Abuse. "Image and Self Esteem." Mentor Resource Center. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://mentor-center.org/image-and-self-esteem/.]
  8. The top wish among all teen girls is for their parents to communicate better with them. This includes frequent and more open conversations.^[Shapiro, Hannah. "Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty boosts girls' self-esteem for Back to School." Examiner.com. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://www.examiner.com/article/dove-s-campaign-for-real-beauty-boosts-girls-self-esteem-for-back-to-school.]
  9. 38% of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly 6% admitted to experimenting with steroids.^[Quenqua, Douglas. "Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession." The New York Times. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/19/health/teenage-boys-worried-about-body-image-take-risks.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.]
  10. 7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.^[Shapiro, Hannah. "Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty boosts girls' self-esteem for Back to School." Examiner.com. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://www.examiner.com/article/dove-s-campaign-for-real-beauty-boosts-girls-self-esteem-for-back-to-school.]
  11. A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs.^[Linton, Melissa. "Teens & self-esteem: Your teen's self-esteem dependent on you." Examiner.com. Accessed March 3, 2014. http://www.examiner.com/article/teens-self-esteem-your-teen-s-self-esteem-dependent-on-you.]
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