Teens Experiencing Stress Similar to Adults

stressA new study by the American Psychological Association (APA) has found that teenagers are now experiencing stress in a way that is similar to adults.[1] The APA conducted an online survey in February that involved 1, 950 adults and 1, 018 teens that reside in the United States.1 They found that some teens actually reported a higher level of stress that most adults did, which suggests that unhealthy behaviors that are linked with stress are beginning to manifest early in people’s lives.1 This requires attention, as stress can have a negative impact on healthy behaviors, such as eating, sleeping, and exercising.1

The survey found that teens report that their stress levels rise far beyond the healthy mark during the school year and often outrank the average reported stress levels of adults.1 However, when summer comes, many teens still report having higher stress levels than what is considered healthy.1 In fact, 31 percent of teens reported feeling overwhelmed, and 30 percent reported feeling depressed or sad due to high stress.1 Thirty-six percent of teens reported feeling tired or fatigues, and 23 percent reported skipping meals due to stress.1 Even though teens have reported a high level of stress, they also reported that the stress has only minor impacts on their physical and mental health, while adults reported more of an impact.1

“It is alarming that teen stress experience is so similar to that of adults. It is even more concerning that they seem to underestimate the potential impact that stress has on their physical and mental health,” said APA CEO and Executive Vice President Norman B. Anderson, PhD. “In order to break this cycle of stress and unhealthy behaviors as a nation, we need to provide teens with better support and health education at school and home, at the community level, and in their interactions with health care professionals.”1

Stress continues to be a significant problem for many adults. In fact, 42 percent of adults reported that their stress levels have increased, while 36 percent reported that their stress levels have stayed the same over the past five years.1 Still, the average adults’ reported stress level is much greater than the level of stress that is believed to be healthy.1

[1] Pedersen, T. (2014). Are Teens Taking On Adult Stress Habits?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/03/30/are-teens-taking-on-adult-stress-habits/67820.html

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