Girls increasingly unhappier, annual survey reports

Written by: Emma Lee-Potter | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Girls are less happy today than they were a decade ago, new research has found.

For the last 10 years the Girlguiding organisation has asked girls between the ages of seven and 21 about their views on everything from education and school to personal safety and wellbeing.

But this year only one in four of the 1,900 girls who took part described themselves as “very happy” – compared to 41 per cent in 2009.

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of girls aged 11 to 21 said exams and tests were the main cause of stress.

But social media was an issue too, with 59 per cent of girls aged 11 to 21 saying that pressure from social media was one of the main causes of stress.

Half of this age group said feeling unhappy affected their health and 45 per cent of all those questioned said feeling unhappy affected their confidence.

Mental health was another concern. Seventy-one per cent of 11 to 21-year-olds said they knew a girl who had had a mental health problem, a rise from 62 per cent in 2015.

However, girls felt more able to talk about mental health, with 50 per cent reporting that the subject had been discussed at school, a rise from 44 per cent in 2015.

Commenting on the research, Girlguiding’s chief guide, Amanda Medler, said: “The message could not be clearer from girls and young women about the seriousness of the issues they’re facing daily and the negative impact on their lives. It’s not good enough that today girls are unhappier and more of them are experiencing problems with their mental health than in previous years.

“Girls need to know when they speak out they will be heard. So now is the time for action, to listen to girls and respond, and for all organisations, government, schools and parents to work together to improve the lives of all girls and young women.”


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