New Research Reveals Girls as Young as Age 5 Feel Lonely, and It Takes a Toll on Their Confidence

Girl Scouts encourages self-expression and peer connections to build confidence and combat loneliness in the digital era. | Photo courtesy of GSUSA

Empowering Girl Scouts with tools to understand and express their emotions, the Mental Health Patch program encourages mental resilience. | Photo courtesy of GSUSA

This Girl Scout proudly displays her ‘Showing Up for Me and You’ patch, a symbol of her growth into a caring and compassionate leader. | Photo courtesy of GSUSA

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas support girls with mental wellness programming and resources

Empowering girls to thrive through challenges of the digital age and beyond is more critical now than ever.”

— Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

DALLAS, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, May 14, 2024 / — The vast majority of girls (70%) ages 5 to 13 experience loneliness—and the feeling intensifies with age.* This is just one of the compelling findings from new research by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), completed in partnership with Wakefield Research. Conducted earlier this spring, the study revealed a troubling rise in loneliness, a feeling that notably diminishes their confidence as they grow older. ‘

The data also points to the power of friendship in boosting girls’ confidence to try new things they wouldn’t otherwise do alone, and despite the ubiquity of digital devices, these results point to girls’ desire for a range of authentic experiences and interpersonal connections.

Key Research Insights:

• Loneliness Increases with Age: Survey results show 64% of girls ages 5–7, 67% of girls ages 8–10, and 73% of girls ages 11–13 reported feelings of loneliness.

• As Loneliness Grows, Confidence Drops: While 86% of girls ages 5–7 expressed belief in their ability to tackle challenges, this figure drops to 73% among 11–13-year-old girls.

• Friendship is a Confidence Booster: For more than half of the girls surveyed (52%), having a friend by their side encourages them to try new things, like talking to a new person or joining a new group.

• Girls Prefer Real Interactions to Screen Time: Most girls would prefer to be creative (63%), go outside and play, or spend time with their family (59%) rather than spend all their time on screens.

These findings underscore the urgent need for interventions that foster meaningful connections and self-assurance among young girls. Given the prevalence of loneliness among young girls, Girl Scouts is more important today than ever. Girls of any age can join the organization to form lasting friendships, build self-confidence, and access mental wellness programming—meant to tackle the specific issues today’s girls face.

“Empowering girls to thrive through challenges of the digital age and beyond is more critical now than ever,” emphasized Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. “Our mission is to reverse this trend by continuing to provide core Girl Scout programming and integrating mental wellness education into everything we do, ensuring every girl knows she is part of a community that believes in her potential.”

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) offers a robust suite of mental wellness resources and programming to support girls, council staff, and adult volunteers. GSUSA developed the programming in collaboration with partners like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Medical City Healthcare, supported by the HCA Healthcare Foundation, makes the Mental Wellness Patch program possible. An additional $5,000 grant from the Medical City Foundation helps ensure that all local participants can access these patches for free.

GSNETX is working to destigmatize mental illness, normalize conversations about mental health, and deliver inclusive programs for girls of all backgrounds. As a pioneering council, GSNETX was selected to host a recent video for the Mental Wellness Patch, a nationwide initiative. This program is designed to help girls in grades 4-12 recognize and understand their emotions and develop effective strategies for managing mental health challenges. For more information about Girl Scouts’ commitment to mental health programming, visit

*The GSUSA survey was conducted online from March 19 to 31, 2024, among 1,000 U.S. girls aged 5 to 13. The data has been weighted to reflect the demographics of the national population accurately.

We Are Girl Scouts

Whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths, make best friends, and rise to meet new challenges. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas serves girls and adult volunteers across 32 counties. To change the workforce pipeline in STEM and meet the urgent need for female voices and leadership in the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, GSNETX opened the 92-acre state-of-the-art STEM Center of Excellence in 2018. Learn more at or call 972-349-2400.

Stephanie Horne
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
+1 469-994-1629
email us here
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Girl Scouts Mental Wellness Patch Program

Originally published at

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