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Free Girls Link program to help pre- and early-teen girls overcome shyness, teasing, fear of rejection

5/15/2013, 8:12 a.m.

The two Case Western Reserve University researchers, Nicole Pucci and Amy Przeworski, 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, good listeners and sensitive their own and others emotions.

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.

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.

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.

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.