YORK (Reuters Health)
- Possibly because they
are pulled in a million different directions by
their parents and
society, one third of US teens say they feel stressed-out
on a daily
the study of more than 8,000 high school students
and people in their
early 20s, close to two thirds of all subjects polled
stressed at least once a week, according to researchers
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
- By comparison, rates of stress
in Japanese children are
much lower, the investigators report.
Previously, it was believed that
academic pressure is solely
responsible for stress faced by teenagers,
but the new study disproves
this theory. Stress levels stayed high even
as teens finished their
schooling, the authors note.
- American children tend to face greater amounts of stress
because families and societies place unclear goals on them. For example,
American teens are encouraged to excel in school, have active social
be physically fit, and eventually have promising careers.
and children usually focus on academic achievement
above all else, the
- "The message to parents is
to be clear about what
you want your kids to do. Do you really want to
emphasize education, sports,
or social life?'' lead researcher Dr.
Harold W. Stevenson, a professor
of psychology, said in an interview
with Reuters Health.
- "Parents should help young people differentiate
what's important,'' he said.
- "The charge is often made that the Japanese, along
with other countries whose students are high-achievers, must pay a price
for the high levels of performance and their greater devotion to studying.
That price is assumed to be an increase in various types of psychological
(problems),'' Stevenson explained in a written statement.
- But American students
who performed poorly on math tests
still reported feeling more stress
than their counterparts from Japan,
Taiwan and China, Stevenson pointed
addition, the investigators found that US students
anxious and aggressive on a somewhat regular basis. In
the month before
the survey they were more likely to say that they felt
someone, destroying something or picking fights with other
the researchers note.
- The new study is part of a series of studies focusing
on differences in academic achievement among different nationalities.