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Cooney Crier

How Stressed Are American Teens?


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The life of a high school student is a hectic one. Students are expected to maintain passing grades, while several participate in sports, or extracurricular activities. Many also hold part-time jobs, and volunteer regularly, and let’s not forget about all those students who are taking AP and IB classes.

According to the American Psychological Association in 2014 the average teen experienced a stress level of 5.8 out of ten, the healthy level being 3.4. So is it really surprising that according to dpi.wi.gov, “Each year nearly 7,000 Wisconsin students drop out of school without earning a diploma.”

The American Psychological Association found that the average adult’s stress level is 5.1. This means that the average teen is more stressed than their parents. In fact 17%  of high school students seriously thought about committing suicide, while 8% of highschool students attempted suicide in 2014. So what’s causing this stress, well pmaf.org says 55% is from homework/school, 15% from parents and family, 9% from social life, 8% lack of time, 4% from sports, 9% from other causes.

To many it may not be surprising that school is the most stressful part of a teens life, after all high school students spend 8 hours in school a day. However 4.7 million high school students currently have part time jobs, working about 20 hours a week. Let’s not forget the average 3.5 hours of homework a night. Assuming that someone gets their 8 hours of sleep that leaves 1.5 hours to eat, work out, spend with family or friends read a book, or do anything else that needs to get done on on a weekday. This means there is virtually no time for a student to spend just on themselves. Are we really still wondering why students are stressed.

Amongst all this craziness juniors and seniors have to be thinking about getting into colleges. The need for higher education has never been higher, according to howtoedu.org “over the course of working 40 years, someone with a high school diploma will make $1,116,600 while someone with a bachelor’s degree will make $2,048,204”. Only 64% of applicants will get into college. So all of a sudden something that seems so essential is out of reach for 36% of college applicants, as if students needed another reason to fret.

Does it really make sense that sports are one of the major stressors? 7.6 million students play sports on top of their educational obligations. While sports definitely give students better teamwork skills, and support physical fitness, they are also time consuming physically demanding, “High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries,” stopsportsinjuries.org. Plus some student athletes wish to compete at the college which means they are going to push themselves to better their skills, and the worry of getting on a college team within itself is a stressor. So, yes it makes sense that sports are a stress.

The life of a high school student is a stressful one. It has reached a point where it is no longer healthy, so maybe we need to take a step back and assess the way teenagers live.

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Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Extraordinary
How Stressed Are American Teens?