Overworked and Underage Stress

Compulsory Education And Other Teen Trials

Grownups see teenagers as a cause of stress in modern life. For their part, teenagers are more apt to see themselves as sufferers from stress. Polling by Mediamark Research Inc. found 58 percent of teen girls and 43 percent of teen boys saying they feel stressed out either “all the time” or “sometimes.” On the opposite side of the spectrum, 36 percent of girls and 45 percent of boys reported feeling stressed out “once in a while” or “rarely.”

The chart here lists some of the leading causes of stress for teenagers. People who fear American teens are lamentably indifferent to their education will be relieved to find that kids actually feel so harassed by the demands of school. (Judging by the trends in students’ grades, girls are stressed about doing the work and boys are stressed about not doing it.) While girls were more likely than boys to say they feel stressed out by school work and money, those gender gaps were slim compared to others detected by the poll. Girls were more than twice as likely as boys to say they’re stressed about weight/body image (44 percent vs. 18 percent) or their health (19 percent vs. 9 percent). Girls were also far more likely than boys to be stressed about their “personal appearance” (32 percent vs. 17 percent) and “other people’s health issues” (19 percent vs. 10 percent).

For all the emphasis in pop culture on teen dating and sex, it was intriguing to see that relationships with boyfriends and girlfriends ranked relatively low among causes of stress, cited by 33 percent of girls and 24 percent of boys. The poll’s respondents were more likely to be stressed out by relationships with their friends (47 percent of girls, 28 percent of boys).