Screen Readers Skip to Content

Free Program to Help Teen Girls Overcome Shyness, Teasing, and Rejection Fears

Author: Case Western Reserve University
Published: 6th Oct 2014 - Updated: 12th Feb 2015
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: LGBT Adolescents Publications

Summary: Program coaches shy girls how to handle rejection, teasing, fears and negative feelings, and connects them with resources when necessary.


Main Document

Nicole Pucci remembers what it felt like to not fit in during middle school. "No one feels like they belong. It is an awkward stage where you are trying to figure out how to relate to others."

Amy Przeworski reached her adult height of 5-foot-9 in sixth grade and struggled to blend in with classmates a foot shorter.

The two Case Western Reserve University researchers know what it's like to be an anxious, introverted young girl, and they don't want others to feel like they did in middle and high school.

So Pucci and Przeworski have created Girls Link, a free five-session program to teach shy and anxious girls between age 10 and 14 how to handle rejection, teasing, fears and negative feelings, and to connect them with coping resources when necessary.

"Shyness can have its problems, but shy girls can also be observant and good listeners. Because of their own sensitivity to emotions, they can empathize with others," Pucci said.

Girls at this age experience many life changes, from new schools to puberty and a new sense of wanting to fit in. If girls feel awkward and uncomfortable in social settings, it may lead to depression, Przeworski said.

"Early adolescence is a time in which we see a large spike in the number of females with anxiety and depression symptoms," said Pucci, a doctoral student in Case Western Reserve's clinical psychology program.

These symptoms, if not addressed early, can lead to another problem experienced by more female teens than males - suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Severe shyness, according to the American Psychological Association, often results in such symptoms as blushing, sweating, a pounding heart or upset stomach, negative self-esteem and a tendency to withdraw from social interactions.

Girls Link will be offered at Cuyahoga County Library branches in Beachwood, Brecksville and North Olmsted in June and July. After that, the program will continue at other locations to be announced, and at Case Western Reserve's psychological sciences department.

Case Western Reserve doctoral students in psychology will lead the sessions under the guidance of a state licensed psychologist.

While Girls Link is offered as a public service, the program is also the subject of Pucci's doctoral research. She has streamlined some traditional interventions that take months to complete, hoping to learn whether the shorter approach is as effective.

Parents or guardians can enroll participants in the program by calling 216.368.5022, ext. 2. For more information, visit psychology.case.edu/research/girlslink.

Each participant will be assigned to one of two groups of seven to 10 girls: a peer support group that fosters friendship-building, or a skills group that fosters strategies to overcome stress in social situations. The girls will socially mix in some fun activities and practice the skills they learn.

The goal is to help girls make new friends and feel more socially connected. And they personally know how important that is.

While everyone is shy in some situations, Pucci and Przeworski note some people have such extreme shyness that they go out of their way to avoid social situations or any face-to-face contact.

Pucci said that these girls tend to be labeled as shy early on and have a hard time breaking out of that mindset.

"We hope this program allows girls to develop new social contacts inside or outside their communities," Pucci said.

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest LGBT Adolescents Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to LGBT Adolescents that includes:

For LGBTQ Youth Parental Support is Important thumbnail image.
A new study looks at parental social support and psychological control of depressive symptoms for LGBTQ youth in the United States.
Publish Date: 6th Mar 2023
Gender Dysphoria Rising in Youth - So is Professional Disagreement thumbnail image.
More adolescents with no history of gender dysphoria are presenting at gender clinics, especially in the US.
Publish Date: 24th Feb 2023
10% of Minors Seeking Abortion Must Pursue Court Approval, Many Are Denied thumbnail image.
U.S. states, including Colorado that have not banned abortion still do require those under age 18 to involve their parents before terminating a pregnancy.
Publish Date: 21st Jan 2023
LGBTQ Youth in Juvenile Correctional Facilities at High Risk for Suicide and Self-Harm thumbnail image.
A new study finds that LGBTQ youth are disproportionally represented in juvenile correctional facilities.
Publish Date: 29th Nov 2022 - Updated: 30th Nov 2022


1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Sexual Identities
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.


• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.



• (APA): Case Western Reserve University. (2014, October 6). Free Program to Help Teen Girls Overcome Shyness, Teasing, and Rejection Fears. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved April 19, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/adolescent/28.php


• Permalink: <a href="https://www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/adolescent/28.php">Free Program to Help Teen Girls Overcome Shyness, Teasing, and Rejection Fears</a>