It's teenage daughters, not their mothers, who are today's worrywarts, according to a national study of mothers' and teen daughters' attitudes about the future, recently conducted by skin care and cosmetics company Clinique Laboratories Inc.
The goal of the research was "to understand the mind-set of female consumers, and to learn the hopes and fears of today's moms and teen girls," explains Sandy Cataldo, senior vice president of marketing and research for Clinique North America. The data will be applied to the company's marketing strategies.
The study surveyed a nationally representative sample of 528 girls between 13 and 19, and 502 mothers of teen daughters, and polled them about their attitudes toward financial security, independence, education and lifestyle.
The most surprising finding was that teens are more worried for themselves than moms are worried for their daughters about: not having enough money, being in an abusive relationship, not getting a good job, not getting into college and not being successful.
"The climbing divorce rates of the '80s and the downsizing of the early '90s left an imprint on today's moms and teens," explains Ann Clurman of Yankelovich Partners, the marketing company that conducted the study. "The white knight myth no longer exists. . . . There is a firm belief in self-reliance and an acknowledgment of financial security as a basis of independence."
Moms are more worried about the health and safety of their daughters. Their biggest fears? Cancer, violence at school, AIDS and eating disorders, the study found.
Moms and daughters did agree on a few things, however. Asked to name the most important issues facing the U.S. in 2000, both generations ranked health care, international terrorism and education as chief concerns.
Also, as their top three New Year's resolutions, moms and daughters said they hoped to be happier and healthier, and to lose weight.
Further results reveal a bridging of the generation gap between moms and teen girls: 63% of teens would go to their moms if they had personal problems before going to their friends; 91% of teens say their mothers' approval is important to them; 68% of teen girls want to be like their moms; and 88% of moms say they are more open and honest with their daughters than their moms were with them.
Clinique is working with filmmaker Douglas Keeve to produce a documentary based on the study that will be titled "Delightmare: 4 Teens, 4 Moms, 4 Days."
Keeve chronicled the fashion world with "Unzipped," a documentary about Isaac Mizrahi. Filming four families during their daily routines for "Delightmare," Keeve slept on the living room couch of a Texas family, chaperoned a first date and followed a mother and daughter on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Keeve also documented a night of club hopping and a driving lesson.
A feature version of "Delightmare" is planned for distribution later this year. A 10-minute version of the film will be shown at Clinique cosmetic counters nationwide in the summer and fall.