New Study: Many Teens Report Being Under Stress - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

New Study: Many Teens Report Being Under Stress

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Teenagers in the United States are experiencing higher levels of stress than many adults, the American Psychological Association reported.

Though the APA has conducted similar surveys in the past, this was the first to focus specifically on stress among teenagers.

Overall, the survey revealed that 27% of teenagers reported feeling "extreme stress" during the school year, compared to 20% of adults.

While levels of "extreme stress" among teens fell to 13% over the summer months, 34% of teens surveyed said they expected their stress levels to increase over the next year due to a variety of stressors, including school, work, family and friends.

"It is alarming that the 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," says APA CEO and Executive Vice President Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D in the report. "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."

"The last two years in high school have been the most stressful for me and my friends," survey participant Hannah Sturgill, 18, of Portsmouth, Ohio told USA Today. "We have to do everything and be perfect for colleges and we have a big workload. Most of the time we talk about how stressed we are."

Many of the teenagers surveyed said they were suffering fatigue or feeling tired (36%) or depression and sadness (30%) because of their stress. Sturgill told USA Today that she sometimes skips meals because of high levels of stress. And she's not alone, of the 23% of teens who report skipping a meal in the past month due to stress, 39% say they do this weekly or more.

"Our study this year gives us a window in looking at how early these patterns might begin," clinical psychologist Norman Anderson, the APA's CEO told USA Today. "The patterns of stress we see in adults seem to be occurring as early as the adolescent years - stress-related behaviors such as lack of sleep, lack of exercise, poor eating habits in response to stress."

The survey also revealed that many teens aren't using good coping mechanisms to deal with their stress, over 40% said they played video games or went online to relax, compared to 37% who said they exercised for stress relief. In addition 27% said that they eat to manage stress and 34% reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress. Sleepwise, nearly one in five teens reported that they didn't feel like they got enough sleep.

According to the report, today's teens may be at risk for a variety of ill health effects, including shorter life spans, due to their high levels of stress.

As a part of the American Psychological Association's (APA) "Stress in America: Are Teens Adopting Adults' Stress Habits?" survey, 1,018 teenagers and 1,950 adults answered questions conducted online by Harris Interactive about their overall stress levels and coping habits.

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