Ladies, it might stress you out to hear this, but your stress levels and those of your teen daughters are going to stay the same or keep getting worse if you don’t make changes in your lives soon.
The American Psychological Association released its annual Stress in America survey, and this year it had a major focus on the stress adolescents (ages 13-17) are experiencing, and how that stress is negatively affecting their lives.
The survey compared the stress of adults to that of teens, and shockingly, enough teens actually experience higher levels of stress during the school year than adults.
During the school year, teens have a stress level of 5.8 on a 10-point scale (10 being the highest level of stress), compared to 4.6 during the summer. The average stress level of teens in the last month compared to adults is 5.8 (teens) versus 5.1 (adults). Teens believe that a healthy level of stress is 3.9, according to the survey.
Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist, said in an email that she believes teens may be experiencing higher stress levels than adults because they are still making their path through life, and they have many expectations from adults that they’re trying to fulfill. They might have nearly as many responsibilities as adults, just of a different kind.
“In addition teens have less control - don't get to call all the shots, don't have financial autonomy, don't run the household - and that lack of control can contribute to higher levels of stress,” Durvasula said. “Low control with high demand is what leads to stress-related health problems.”
Teens also look to their parents as role models, but judging from the survey results, parents are not showing the best ways to manage stress.
The survey results show that gender starts playing a role in stress levels as early as the teen years. When comparing stress levels by gender, teen girls are bearing the burden. Their average stress level in the past month is 5.1, compared to their male counterparts at 4.1.
Stress also tended to impact teen girls’ mental health more than teen boys.