Dr. Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor, announced this week that five times as many high school and college students are experiencing anxiety and other mental health issues as youth of the same age did who were studied in the Great Depression era. Researchers at five universities collected and analyzed 77,576 responses from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI. The specific results are scheduled to be released later this year in the Clinical Psychology Review.
According to the Associated Press news release below: “Overall, an average of five times as many students in 2007 surpassed thresholds in one or more mental health categories, compared with those who did so in 1938. A few individual categories increased at an even greater rate — with six times as many scoring high in two areas”:
• “hypomania,” a measure of anxiety and unrealistic optimism (from 5 percent of students in 1938 to 31 percent in 2007); and
•depression (from 1 percent to 6 percent).”
Twenge suggests that the above data may not even be a true barometer of students’ emotional well-being since some participants take antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs which curtail the very symptoms the survey questions them about. Twenge and other experts believe American youth culture—with its emphasis on external attributes such as appearance and status—“has contributed to the uptick in mental health issues” and that “well-meaning overprotective parents have left their children with few real-world coping skills, whether that means doing their own budget or confronting professors on their own.”
Such data underscores the need for student success programs that help youth develop effective coping skills to anxiety and stress. LifeBound’s People Smarts for Teenagers is specifically designed to help teens become emotionally intelligent by developing skills like self-awareness and empathy. We also have a parenting book and offer parenting classes on coaching skills so that parents keep the lines of communication open with their teens, which proves crucial to a young person’s sense of security and well-being.
- How can schools more effectively teach emotional intelligence, which is every bit as crucial for school, career and life success as academics?
- How can educators create a shift in youth culture that promotes the skills that will help students develop their gifts and talents and succeed in the global marketplace?
- How can we better train counselors and students as peer leaders to address some of the common issues students grapple with during their adolescent years?
Study: Youth now have more mental health issues
By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer Martha Irvine,
Mon Jan 11, 8:14 am ET
CHICAGO – A new study has found that five times as many high school and college students are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues as youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era.
The findings, culled from responses to a popular psychological questionnaire used as far back as 1938, confirm what counselors on campuses nationwide have long suspected as more students struggle with the stresses of school and life in general.
“It’s another piece of the puzzle — that yes, this does seem to be a problem, that there are more young people who report anxiety and depression,” says Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor and the study’s lead author. “The next question is: What do we do about it?”
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