Girls on the Edge

Why so many girls are anxious, wired, and obsessed -- and what parents can do

Back in 2010, I wrote a book called Girls on the Edge, based mostly (at that time) on my experience as a family doctor in suburban Maryland. I was concerned about the growing proportion of girls I was seeing who were struggling with anxiety and depression.

What a difference today. 2010 now seems like the good old days. Rates of anxiety and depression for girls have exploded over the past decade (Rates have risen for boys as well, but by much lower margins.) New issues confront girls, including pressure to perform on social media – which can be overwhelming – confusion about gender identity, and the breaking of bonds across generations, among others.

At the invitation of the publisher, I spent a year doing an extensive revision and update. In one case, I threw out the previous chapter entirely and wrote a new chapter from scratch: that’s chapter 5, which is now about the toxic elements in American culture that lead girls to be fearful and risk-averse, with evidence-based strategies to help empower your daughter to find her voice and Walk Out rather than Lean In, when necessary. I hope you will take a look.


Chapter 1: First Factor: Sexual Identity

Chapter 2: Second Factor: The Cyberbubble

Chapter 3: Third Factor: Dreams and Obsessions

Chapter 4: Fourth Factor: Environmental Toxins

Chapter 5: Mind

Chapter 6: Body

Chapter 7: Spirit

  • “The best book about the current state of girls and young women in America . . . offers astonishing and troubling new insight . . .”

    — The Atlantic magazine (view article)

  • “This is essential reading for parents and teachers, and one of the most thought-provoking books on teen development available.”

    — Library Journal

  • “Packed with advice and concrete suggestions for parents, Girls on the Edge is a treasure trove of rarely-seen research on girls.”

    — Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out