Are Girls More Anxious Than Boys?

In the broadest sense, it is difficult to determine if girls exhibit more anxiety than boys. Taken in a general context, adolescents are highly vulnerable to anxiety due to the developmental stage they are in and the accompanying relational obstacles. But when cultural and social elements are factored in, subtle differences seem to exist in levels of self-esteem and anxiety between adolescent girls and boys. This was the conclusion from a recent study led by Nasreen Bano of the Institute of Clinical Psychology at the University of Karachi in Pakistan. Bano assessed the levels of self-worth as they related to self-esteem and also the levels of anxiety exhibited in a sample of 210 Pakistani teenage students.

The study was conducted to determine if culture and religion affected anxiety and self-esteem. In Pakistan and many other Middle Eastern countries, boys and girls are segregated during school. Often, girls are not encouraged to integrate with the boys and when they do, they struggle with fear or worry about how the interaction will go and how they will be perceived. Also, girls in general are more concerned with physical appearance and relationship outcomes than boys. This puts them at greater risk for anxiety and self-esteem issues.

The results of Bano’s study revealed that there was indeed a difference between the anxiety and self-esteem levels of the boys and girls, with girls exhibiting slightly higher levels of anxiety. Bano said, “One of the reasons behind such findings can be that females are more susceptible to fear of evaluation in social setting that causes anxiety among them.” The variance was not great, however. Bano believes that even these subtle variances could indicate that although much has been done to bolster the value of females across the world, more needs to be done, especially in within certain cultures and religions. Future work should address how these minimal differences in self-esteem and self-evaluation carry forward and impact adult psychological well-being in this population.

Bano, Nasreen, Zaeema R. Ahmad, and Amena Z. Ali. (2013). Relationship of self esteem and social anxiety: A comparative study between male and female adolescents. Pakistan Journal of Clinical Psychology 11.2 (2012): n/a. ProQuest. Web.

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  • Brenda


    March 25th, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    It sickens me when I think of how many young girls have had their ambition and talents squandered simply because they come from a culture where these things are neither valued or appreciated. We could have had writers and scientists and yet they have been forced to conform to some outdated rules about the roles that women should and should not play in society. They could have been ambitious as little girls, but they are raised to be subservient to the men in their lives and any dreams of their own have most likely faded away by now.

  • Marcy.L


    March 25th, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Kids mimic what they see. And if the girls over there are less self-confident and have a lower self-esteem compared to boys then that is what they have seen and picked up. its as simple as that.

    Though ideally the self-esteem should be the same for both young boys and girls it is not the same in some places. We may even have a few places where boys have a lower self-esteem. Its all about what the children see and observe. they will then tend to follow the ‘template’ and may end up falling prey to this problem of low self-esteem.

    I just hope these girls are able to pick themselves up and feel better about themselves.I hope they are ALLOWED to feel better about themselves. Until that happens this skewed result will linger. Hope that changes quickly.

  • Sal


    March 26th, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    Maybe a group of kids in Pakistan would not be the best test group? I mean, they are gonna be anxious about a lot different things than the kids here would be. Our kids might be worried about getting a good grade on their next test, while the kids in Pakistan are gonna wonder if the enxt bus that they get on to ride to school is gonna be blown up.

  • Patrick


    March 27th, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    what predicts anxiety in a person? the things and circumstances surrounding the person are often the most important reasons. and if the study is conducted In a palace herein women are facing a lot of adversity anyway I am not surprised at the results. however this may not be true elsewhere and at least that is a good thing because these results are depressing.

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