APA study finds teens are more stressed than adults

APA study finds teens are more stressed than adults

It seems young adults are more stressed than adults.

The results of a recent survey released by the American Psychological Association (APA) might come as a surprise to some. The study, titled “Stress in America,” found that in general, teens are more stressed than adults. Throughout the course of the year, the study indicated that teens and adults who felt stressed often adopted the same habits and ways of coping.

Teens reported high levels of stress during the school year, and typically reported higher levels of stress than adults did during the same month. Both teens and adults were equally susceptible to the ways that stress can impact one’s lifestyle, including exercise, sleep, and maintaining a healthy diet.

For the study, Harris Interactive Inc. surveyed 1,950 adults and 1, 018 teens between August 1 and August 31, 2013. The goal was to determine whether teens are taking on unhealthy stress patterns of adults, and the results were quite surprising.

The teens in the study reported that they believed their stress levels during the school year were beyond what they thought a healthy level should be, with 5.8 versus 3.9 on a 10-point scale. The study also found that teens’ stress levels were elevated throughout the year, even during the summer, as the August study indicated.

During the month of August, when the teens were participating in the study, they reported feeling higher than normal amounts of stress during the past month, or 4.6 versus 3.9 on a 10-point scale. Additionally, nearly 31 percent of teens reported feeling overwhelmed, while 30 percent felt sad or depressed as a result of stress. Just 13 percent of teens admitted that they felt stressed during the summer months. This number climbed to 27 percent during the school year.

Norman B. Anderson, PhD, APA CEO and Executive Vice President, noted, “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 emotional and physical health.”


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