Affiliation: 9 Saint Mary Road, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Boys greatly outnumber girls in mental health treatment settings prior to adolescence, but this ratio begins to change dramatically in early adolescence. While adolescent girls are less likely to commit violent crimes, suicide, be victims of homicide, use drugs and alcohol, or smoke, than adolescent boys, they are more prone to psychological distress, and subject to increased risks of depressive illnesses, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress syndromes, often leading to patterns of chronic morbidity. In fact, while boys risks for mental health problems such as violence and suicide are decreasing, girls risks are going up. This selective review will explore the interaction between female adolescent development and psychopathology focusing on disorders for which teenage girls are at high risk.