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Cultural perceptions of dating

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"How Do I Evolve From Confusion and Chaos to a Capable, Strong, Compassionate Woman?

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A summary of the survey, "The State of the Hearts of Adolescent Girls," is found at the end of this research agenda.The authors set out to assemble and review the psychology and related research and literature for the past 10 years, with special attention to strengths, challenges, and choices within the contexts of girls' lives.Challenged to consider and move beyond an exploration of girls' psychological losses and to focus on those aspects of relationship and culture that support and engage girls-as well as girls' collective attempts to resist the negative impact of the media and other powerful, societal forces-the authors attempted to answer questions such as the following: In developing this book, the authors focused on several cross-cutting themes: strengths, development, ethnicity, class, risks, resilience, and research implications.Although research shows that self-esteem decreases for both sexes after elementary school, the drop is more dramatic for girls.Compared with boys of the same age, adolescent girls are more anxious and stressed, experience diminished academic achievement, suffer from increased depression and lower self-esteem, experience more body dissatisfaction and distress over their looks, suffer from greater numbers of eating disorders, and attempt suicide more frequently.Although the current day risks and stresses in the lives of adolescent girls must be understood, they should not be the defining factors in discussions of adolescent girls.

There must be a focus on what is working for adolescent girls, and why to assist adolescent girls in navigating these risks during their development.

The fact that many adolescent girls are showing remarkable strength, resiliency, and "hardiness" during the stressful time of adolescence needs to be explored.

Instead of focusing on the storm and stress of adolescence, a new understanding of adolescent girls that affirms their strength and resilience needs to be developed.

Through its activities, the task force will chart directions into the new frontiers of the next century through a critical examination of the policy issues, current knowledge, and research approaches to understanding adolescent girls.

The following work is excerpted from Beyond Appearance: A New Look at Adolescent Girls , a book written by psychologists across the country whose work focuses on adolescent girls, including psychologists serving on the APA task force on adolescent girls.

It is distinct from sex, which refers to the biological aspects of being female or male.