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Think You're Stressed? Your Teen Has It Worse

Study shows teens stress more than adults
Photograph by Getty Images/Fuse

It's no secret the U.S. is a stressed-out nation. It's been a topic of conversation for years now, which is why since 2007 the American Psychological Association (APA) has been closely examining just what's been stressing us out. This year, the association decided to focus on one particularly tense group: teens. And the results are in. Based on a 10-point scale, teens gave themselves a 5.8 on the stress-level scale. Adults? We ranked ours a bit lower, at about 5.1.

According to the APA CEO and executive vice president, Norman Anderson, most of the teen respondents said they knew their stress levels weren't healthy. They even identified a desired number—somewhere around 3.9—that they'd rather hover around. But there was one problem: 42 percent of them weren't exactly doing anything to change that.

It also didn't help that many of the teens weren't getting enough sleep, not exercising enough, and spending far too much time sitting still—stats show they consume up to 7.5 hours of media per day. But considering the fact that unmanaged stress can lead to a whole host of problems, from depression to high blood pressure, these results don't sit well with health experts.

When it comes to just what is causing our teens to get so worked up, the biggest culprit is perhaps no surprise: school. Eighty-three percent of teens said school was a major source of stress, as well as worries about what college they'll wind up at and whether or not they'll even get in. Another factoid: many kids were stressed out about their parents' money issues; which is a telling reminder of just how often our own worries can become our children's.

“This population is underserved, and not taken seriously sometimes,” says Katherine Nordal of the APA. “We wanted to shine light on some of the problems we know teens are having and whether they are successful at coping with them or not.”

The APA also posted some eye-opening infographics, which illustrate just how much stress is consuming our kids' daily lives:

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