A recent study has highlighted just how romantic relationships can have a disastrous effect on the mental health of young girls. The results of this study have been rather alarming for most researchers who were oblivious to the dangerous and often life-threatening consequences of failed relationships in the lives of young women.
What the study highlighted
The study showed that when young girls find out that their relationships are not going in the desired direction, they tend to lose self-esteem and become depressed. Many such girls begin to think on the lines of suicide and might even attempt suicide, if they feel betrayed or unwanted. The study’s author, Brian Soller, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Sociology at the famed University of New Mexico.
On the contrary, such studies conducted on young boys have not revealed any such reactions to failed relationships. These studies aimed to showcase just how young people feel about relationships, particularly when they are not going the way they were expected to go.
How the study was conducted
This study by Soller was conducted on more than 5,300 high school boys and girls from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. One of the main reasons for collecting such huge amounts of data was to scrutinize the mental health conditions that can occur when sharp contrasts arise between actual relationships and ideal relationships.
The results of this study have been revealed in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Dr. Soller started off by asking young people just they wanted their relationship to be, ideally. After this, they were interviewed again after a period of time and asked how their relationship actually turned out to be.
During the initial interview, adolescents were given cards that highlighted the major moments in relationships. They would then keep those cards to show the order in which they expected the events to take place. After about a year, this exercise was repeated and this time the students revealed the order of events in the way they actually took place during the course of their relationship.
Effects on mental health
During both rounds of the interviews, the participants were asked about their mental well-being during the course of their relationship. The results revealed that inauthentic relationships usually have a devastating effect on young girls and their self-esteem. Speaking on this, Dr. Soller highlighted that since girls look to relationships as being vital for their identity, they tend to react strongly to a relationship, irrespective of whether the relationship is good or bad.
How to help young girls deal with failed relationships
Soller encourages parents, teachers, and peers to help girls frame their identities around other factors and not solely around their romantic relationships. He has also stressed upon the need to supply adolescents with tools that can help them control how their relationships turn out and the effects that such relationships might have on their mental health, including their self-esteem.