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What are the current stressors in a teenager's life?

Adolescence is an incredibly stressful time of life. In fact, one-third of teens suffer at least one major stressor each week. The largest sources of stress can be divided into the following categories: school, parents, romantic relationships, friends, and siblings.

Examples of school-related stressors for teens include changing schools, teacher expectations, being successful in extracurricular activities and sports, getting into college, and doing well enough at school to earn a scholarship to attend college. Parents are also a large area of stress for teens, mostly due to teens’ fears that they won’t live up to their parents’ expectations of them. Also, if a teen’s parents are divorced or there are other parental issues, such as alcoholism or abuse, a teen’s stress levels are likely high. Also, any presence of illness or financial problems in the family will contribute to teens’ stress.

With the onset of puberty, teens start to have romantic relationships -- or not, and both states are stressful for teens. Teens’ physical changes and their feelings of awkwardness increase their stress levels and worries that they don’t fit in socially. Also, evolving friendships and peer relationships cause stress. Teens often take their first more prominent social roles, either by hosting a party or going on a first date, which are also found to stress them out.

Other common issues of teen stress that don’t fit neatly into any of the above categories are working part-time, being over-scheduled, or feeling unsafe in their neighborhood. Regardless of the cause of teen stress, the stress itself tends to breed more stress. Teens can often have negative thoughts as they worry, which only serve to increase their stress. Girls tend to suffer more stress than teen boys, but they are also more likely to get help. Teen boys, on the other hand, do their best to ignore their stress, often by throwing themselves into activities.