Stress in High School Students

Stress in High School Students

 

Students in high school have a lot of pressure on them to meet expectations. Starting from a young age, many kids are pressured by their parents to receive high grades, score well on tests, and do other extracurriculars. Many students are stressed about what they are going to do after high school. The stress isn’t caused solely by school work and grades, though, they also deal with social stress. They feel a strong desire to fit in with their peers. They are also dealing with peer pressure, bullying, relationships and sports. While it’s caused by a variety of things, the stress levels in students reaching a dangerous level, and it’s still rising.

 

According to the American Psychology Association, teens reported their stress levels during the school year to be a 5.8 on a 10 point scale, exceeding the healthy 3.9 mark. This level also passes the average adult (5.1). APA CEO Norman B. Anderson says, ““It is alarming that the teen stress experience is so similar to that of adults,” and that, “it is even more concerning that they seem to underestimate the potential impact that stress has on their physical and mental health.” It’s not getting any better either, with 31 percent of teenagers claiming that their stress levels had increased over the past year and 34 percent predicting that it would worsen over the coming year.

 

The problem isn’t just about the mental aspect either, stress has a tremendous impact on our physical health as well. According to the National Sleep Convention, teenagers are recommended to get 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep every night, but most are only getting between 7.4 and 8.1. One in five teens said that a lack of sleep lead to increased stress levels, and that stress also made them feel tired. On top of this, 23 percent of teens reported skipping meals due to stress, and out of that percentage, nearly 39 percent said that regularly skip meals (once a week or more). If students are not getting enough sleep and not eating enough, they will likely struggle in school. Also, if students don’t get the help they need they are more likely to self-medicate, turning to drugs and alcohol.

 

There is hope to combat this growing problem, though. Anderson says that, “When spending time with teens, we can encourage them to exercise, eat well, get the sleep they need and seek support from health-care professionals like psychologists to help them develop healthier coping mechanisms for stress sooner rather than later.” Students should be provided more support from the education system and adults to stop unhealthy behaviors and they should be promoting positive mental health.