Girls on the Edge: the four factors driving the new crisis for girls

Leonard Sax MD PhD
Basic Books hardcover, 2010; revised and updated softcover, 2011

The title - Girls on the Edge The title is deliberately ambiguous. I had five different meanings in mind when I chose this title. Two of the meanings are:
In the book you will find three other meanings for this phrase, "girls on the edge."

The following material are merely a few notes providing links which became available after Girls on the Edge was published. These links are intended as a SUPPLEMENT the material in the book; they should not be read as a SUBSTITUTE for the material in the book.

Chapter 1: Sexual identity.

Please take a look at April 2010 essay titled "Why are so many girls lesbian or bisexual?" As of May 1 2012, my blog had received more than 700,000 hits and has been reposted in many sites around the world. This essay supplements my discussion of this topic in chapter 1. Chapter 1 provides more information about why bisexual girls may be more numerous and/or more evident today, particularly with regard to the sexualization of girlhood.

Chapter 2: The cyberbubble

The Pew Institute recently released a large new survey of teenagers' use of texting, instant messaging, etc. They found that the typical teenage girl in the USA now sends 80 text messages per day, compared with 30 text messages per day sent by the typical teenage boy. Click here for an overview of the Pew Institute report; this page also includes a link to the full text of the study, available at no charge.

Chapter 3: Obsessions.

How common is cutting? Is cutting more common among girls than among boys? Even ten years ago, it was unusual to find girls cutting themselves. Today it's common. For a review of 14 recent studies on this topic, see Karen Rodham and Keith Hawton, "Epidemiology and phenomenology of nonsuicidal self-injury," in Understanding Nonsuicidal Self-Injury, Matthew Nock (editor), Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 2009, pp. 37 - 62. In a recent survey of girls age 10 to 14 years of age, conducted by researchers at Yale University School of Medicine, researchers found that 56% of girls had engaged in non-suicidal self-injury at some point in their life; 36% of girls had engaged in non-suicidal self-injury within the past year. See Lori Hilt, Christine Cha, and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, "Non-suicidal self injury in young adolescent girls," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, volume 76, pp. 63 - 71, 2008.

Please also see my recent blog for Psychology Today, about gender differences in non-suicidal self-injury.

Chapter 4: Endocrine disruptors.

In the process of researching this chapter, I discovered that the risks of PET (polyethylene terephathalate) are not widely known, not even among scientists who study endocrine disruptors. I decided to write a scholarly article calling attention to these risks. My article was just published in the April 2010 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, the peer-reviewed journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You can read the full text of my article, at no charge, at this link.

Where to find skin creams, lotions, shampoos, etc. that don't contain phthalates or other endocrine disruptors? In addition to the sites I mention in chapter 4, I also recommend, which is - as the name suggests - a fairly comprehensive database of cosmetics, indexed by the Environmental Working Group.

In chapter 4, I also refer to the "Consensus statement on the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs in children," published in Pediatrics, volume 123 (2009), pp. e752-e762.
When I wrote chapter 4 of Girls on the Edge, the journal Pediatrics made this article available at no charge on their web site. Now they're asking everybody to pay $12 per person to read the full text. If you want to pay the $12 to have access to the full text as it appeared in the journal, click on this link. However, the first author of this paper has posted the full text online, where it won't cost you anything to look: Click here to read the full text of the consensus statement as provided by the first author. Click here to return to main page