Psychological Self-Help

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that it is body image ("I'm too fat" or "too flat"), not life events, sex
roles, or social popularity, that causes the depression in teenage girls
(while boys saw their adding weight as "adding muscle"). 
Nolen-Hoeksena and Girgus (1994) suggest that girls have certain
personality traits that interact with the stresses of being a teenaged
girl that produce depression and lower self-esteem. The personality
traits are thought to be emotional dependence on relationships, less
assertiveness, and passivity (or an inclination to worry about a
problem situation rather than do something about it quickly and
decisively, as a boy might do). Thus, maturing young girls may get
distressed when interacting with desirable but sexually aggressive
(scary?) young males, when they dislike or don't know how to handle
their own bodily changes (breasts, pimples, over or under-weight, no
butt, etc., etc.), when sexually teased, used, or abused, when their
social activities are restricted more than boys, when peers, culture,
and parents start to emphasize attractiveness, sexiness, and
friendships more than intelligence, genuine caring, and preparing for
one's life work. We are gradually finding more and more childhood
factors related to teenage depression. 
A frequently cited statistic is that women are twice as likely to
become depressed as men (and two or three times more likely than
men to attempt suicide). It is an interesting coincident that women are
also about twice as likely as men to “over-think,” which is ruminating
mostly about unhappy events in the past (in contrast to worry which
often focuses on bad things that might happen in the future). This
could be another bit of evidence that negative thoughts produce
negative emotions (although the above observation that females
dramatically increase their negative thoughts at the time of puberty
also suggests something else may be an underlying cause of both
negative thoughts and depressed feelings). 
Susan Nolen-Hoeksema (2003) has written a book based on her
research about “over-thinking” in women, Women who think too
much: How to break free of overthinking and reclaim your life. The
result of over-thinking is that women (and men!) work themselves into
a complex, confused emotional state where conclusions and solutions
become difficult, if not impossible. Women may be more prone to
over-think because they are sensitive to others and are often expected
to solve personal conflicts without offending anyone. Nolen-Hoeksema
found three types of over-thinking: 1. Rant and Rave—we believe
someone has done us wrong and become self-righteous and plan
revenge. 2. Psycho-analyzing—we replay an offending event over
and over in an effort to understand why people did what they did and
why we are emotionally responding as we are. We construct a huge
psychological problem which seems to defy any treatment plan. 3.
Chaoticone upsetting thought (emotion) triggers another in a chain
reaction, often not directly connected at all with the current event, so
that eventually there is a huge conglomeration of entangled emotional
experiences in one’s mind but few constructive conclusions. 
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