Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem
Atlanta Key Findings
Commissioned June 2008 – Executive Summary
Self-esteem has become a crisis in this country. The majority of girls feel they do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school, and relationships. Most disturbing is that girls with low self-esteem are three times more likely than girls with high self-esteem to engage in harmful and destructive behavior that can leave a lasting imprint on their lives.
In Atlanta, the self-esteem crisis affecting girls is just as pervasive, if not more so in some respects, as it is nationally. Atlanta is ranked among the top ten locations with the highest percentage of teens engaging in negative behavior when feeling badly about themselves.
- Approximately 7 in 10 girls (69%) in Atlanta believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members
- The majority of teen girls in Atlanta (59%) reported in engaging in negative activities, such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking, or drinking, when feeling badly about themselves
- 45% of teen girls in Atlanta admit to talking badly about themselves
- 10% of teen girls in Atlanta resort to cutting or injuring themselves on purpose when feeling badly about themselves
- 19% of teen girls in Atlanta practice disordered eating, such as starving themselves, refusing to eat, or over-eating and throwing up, when feeling badly about themselves
- The Self-Esteem tipping point happens during the transition to teenage years, resulting in loss of trust and communication with adults
- 66% of girls in Atlanta ages 13-17 turn to their mother as a resource when feeling badly about themselves compared to 89% of girls ages 8-12
- Only 33% of girls in Atlanta ages 13-17 will turn to their father for help when feeling badly about themselves compared to 54% of girls ages 8-12. At 16, girls become more likely to seek support from male peers than from their own dads.
- Parents’ words and actions play a pivotal role in fostering positive self-esteem
- The top wish among girls in Atlanta is for their parents to communicate better with them, which includes more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in their own lives
About Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem
Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self Esteem, commissioned by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, was conducted online among 1,029 girls 8–17, and is representative of the U.S. based on census indicators (region, ethnicity and parental education). An additional 3,344 girls 8–17 were surveyed in a targeted study that was conducted in 20 major U.S. cities, representative of each DMA, based on ethnicity and parental education. The research was conducted by StrategyOne, an applied research consulting firm, in collaboration with Ann Kearney-Cooke, PhD.
Methodology: Interviews averaged 15 minutes and were conducted between May 6 and May 28, 2008, using the online field services of ResearchNow.
About the Dove Self-Esteem Awareness Measurement
The Dove Self-Esteem Awareness Measurement was developed to provide an indicator of self-esteem encompassing an overall sense of self-acceptance, confidence and emotional orientation among American girls. Each girl surveyed was assigned a score based on how she rated herself in each of these areas. Based on their individual scores, girls were classified into three groups: high, average and low self-esteem. The high self-esteem group was comprised of girls whose scores fell within the top third of the distribution, the average self-esteem group included girls whose scores fell within the middle third of the distribution and the low self-esteem group included girls whose scores fell within the bottom third of the distribution.
The Dove mission is to make women feel more beautiful every day by challenging today’s stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves. Dove, manufactured by Unilever, is the No. 1 personal wash brand nationwide. One in every three households uses a Dove product,1 which includes beauty bars, body washes, face care, anti-perspirants/deodorants, body mists, hair care and styling aids. Dove is available nationwide in food, drug and mass outlet stores.
1 AC Nielsen (2004)