Teen girls and the "inner critic syndrome"

April 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Is the race for success and achievement causing your daughter to create an "inner critic syndrome"?

Today's twenty-something women grew up with 24-hour Internet access and working moms who juggled it all. As a result, Ann Kearney-Cooke, a psychologist and distinguished scholar for the Partnership for Women's Health at Columnbia University, says these women are suffering from "inner critic syndrome."

Critical Inner Voice

The next phase of the Campaign for Real Beauty, Dove go fresh, is inspired by today's real-life 20-something women who are more accomplished and independent than ever. Driven by their own critical inner voice, this age group is pursuing - and attaining - significant achievements before turning 30. However, this race to achieve success is keeping many of from fully enjoying what they have worked so hard to accomplish. "Today's 20-something women grew up with 24-hour Internet access and working moms who juggled it all. Now they are trying to outpace that world," notes Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and distinguished scholar for the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University. "As a result, 20-something females are suffering from 'inner critic syndrome,' a thought process which heightens the amount of pressure they feel to measure up to, and surpass, the previous generation."

According to recent Dove research, women cannot ignore their inner voice, which is often critical and influential:

  • 96 percent of women in their twenties say their inner voice speaks to them on a typical day
  • More than half (55 percent) admit their inner voice criticizes them on a daily basis
  • 85 percent admit they are their own worst critics

The critical inner voice is preventing 20-something women from celebrating their independence and success: · 68 percent believe that their lives would be much more fulfilling if they did not put so much pressure on themselves

Fresh Takes

"Fresh Takes" uses entertainment and humor to give viewers a look at three 20-something girlfriends as they put their everyday pressures in a fresh perspective. Using the budding micro-series TV format, "Fresh Takes" will broadcast three-minute episodes nationwide during "The Hills," MTV's No. 1 show for 20-something women, over a five-week period beginning March 24 (10 p.m. EST / 9 p.m. Central). The micro-series was created and produced by MindShare Entertainment and MTV. Alicia Keys headlines the series, alongside up-and-coming actresses Desi Lydic and Jessalyn Wanlim.

Women can interact with "Fresh Takes" in several ways, including viewing content on their PC or mobile phone. All five episodes will be available on www.dovegofresh.com after each air-date as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Alicia and the entire cast. Episodes will also be available on www.dovefreshtakes.mtv.com.

About Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D.:

Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D., a well-known psychologist and director of the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute, is a leading authority on the treatment of adolescents and adults with eating disorders, self-esteem issues and body image dissatisfaction.

Dr. Kearney-Cooke is the author and co-author of numerous publications on eating disorders and body image in teenagers and adult men and women, including Change Your Mind, Change Your Body: Feeling Good About Your Body and Self After 40, published by Simon and Schuster in June, 2004.

The Department of Health and Human Services Surgeon General's office and the Office of Women's Health this year asked Dr. Kearney-Cooke to serve as an expert on the committee to develop a supplemental publication to the 1999 report Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. The content of this document focuses on the mental health of women and girls, and exploring sex differences among mental illnesses, in order to gain a better understanding of the role mental health plays in the overall health of women. Dr. Kearney-Cooke will work with the committee providing input on research on the psychology of midlife women, as well as issues relevant to adolescent girls, sharing her knowledge and results from the program she leads at Columbia University titled Helping Adolescents Become Strong Adults.

Dr. Kearney-Cooke was awarded in 2000 the Distinguished Scholars Award from the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University for her leadership in women's health.? In 1996, Dr. Kearney-Cooke was honored as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association for her outstanding contributions to the psychology of women in the field of media psychology. She was also named a YWCA Woman of Achievement.

A summa cum laude graduate of California State College, Dr. Kearney-Cooke earned her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Miami.


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