Gender norms are taking a toll on boys' and girls' mental health around the world, a new study has found.

Youth are conforming to gender stereotypes to fit in and gain social status, threatening gender equality progress globally, according to new research released Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study series is part of the larger Johns Hopkins Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS).

An international network of researchers conducted in-depth studies with more than 10,000 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14 in low-income communities in China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Belgium to understand how gender stereotypes show up across cultures and life experiences.

“Adolescence is a window of opportunity when young people reevaluate their identities and behaviors and encounter certain gender stereotypes that unfortunately can be very harmful,” Dr. Robert Blum, who leads the GEAS, said in a press release issued to Global Citizen.

Gender stereotypes enforced by the segregation of boys and girls when they reach puberty contributes to significant health consequences including violence, victimization, and depression, Dr. Caroline Moreau, associate family and reproductive health professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health behind the GEAS’s research, explained in the press release.

When boys and girls segregate into gendered social worlds, their exposure to different challenges connected to health risks factors increases. A study of more than 3,200 Indonesian youth found that boys were more likely than girls to report parental neglect or witnessing domestic abuse. The study linked the lack of reporting such behavior to a greater risk of violent encounters with peers.

Read the full article about gender stereotypes by Leah Rodriguez at Global Citizen.