The Stressed Out Generation
Can finding the right college create more stress than finding a job? Scientists say teens are more stressed out than adults. The good news? Parents can help provide an antidote.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recently found that teenagers are more stressed out than adults, especially during the school year.
“It is alarming that the teen stress experience is so similar to that of adults,” said APA CEO Dr. Norman B. Anderson in a statement. “It is even more concerning that they seem to underestimate the potential impact that stress has on their physical and mental health.”
Besides the pressures of school, body changes, friend issues, and extracurricular activities, technology could be triggering more stress in their lives. The average teen interacts with 7.5 hours of media a day.
High schoolers now spend less than an hour per weekday on sports, exercise, and recreation, according to a 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics Time Use Survey. These activities are known to boost serotonin and help teens relax.
Additionally, studies have found that lack of sleep, along with more screen time is causing more depression in teens.
What Can Parents Do?
Anderson recommends that teens get more support and health education at school and home, so they can learn to manage and reduce their stress.
Parents can help teens reduce stress in many ways starting with noticing their behaviors and feelings, and offering to listen more to their concerns, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. They can be watching for overloaded schedules and support teens to engage in sports or other social activities that they may enjoy.
Parents can also help by setting examples. "Parents and other adults can play a critical role in helping teens get a handle on stress by modeling healthy stress management behaviors," Anderson said.