According to a new study, girls feel more lonely in the primary stage of their schooling. However, the study claims that those girls who share a closer relationship with their fathers reportedly don’t feel lonely but are very confident.

Daughter and dad hugging each other

"The bond between fathers and daughters is very important. We found that closeness between fathers and daughters tends to protect daughters and help them transition out of loneliness faster," said co-author Xin Feng, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University.

For the study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, the research team studied 695 families who participated in the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

Mothers and fathers rated their relationships (both closeness and conflict) with their child, when the child was in grades one, three, four and five. In grades one, three and five the children rated their levels of loneliness.

The results showed that levels of closeness tended to decline over this time, while conflict increased. That's not surprising, said lead author Julia Yan from the varsity.

"This is a time when children are becoming more independent, developing relationships with friends and spending more time outside the home," Yan said.

"So, they become less close with their parents and have more conflict as their need for autonomy increases," Yan added. 

Surprisingly, daughters sharing a greater bond did well in handling their friends, peers at school, exhibited better social skills than feeling inferior, lonely and depressed.

Mothers' relationships didn't have an effect in this study, but that doesn't mean they aren't important, the researcher said.

The results affirm that fathers should nurture their relationships with their children, particularly their daughters, the researchers noted.