5 Things Make High School Students Sweat Bullets

5 Things Make High School Students Sweat Bullets 1

High school is a stressful time with an estimated 10 percent of high school students suffering from an anxiety disorder. Headaches, stomach problems, mood swings, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping are all signs of a teenager who’s dealing with too much stress. There are many factors that cause high school anxiety, but most fall within one of the following categories.

Complex Friendships and Relationships

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Image via Flickr by Tostie14

Social situations create a lot of tension for teens. A study performed in Baltimore reported that friends’ problems were a stressor for 52% of respondents and romantic relationships were a stressor for 48%. Keeping up with the latest trends and trying to gain acceptance from one’s peers is a full-time job. The ever-changing nature of teenage romances makes even simple relationships stressful. Though teen pregnancy is on the decline, the CDC still reported a total of 329,797 babies born to women between 15 and 19 in 2011.

Challenging Family Situations

High school students face a variety of family problems ranging from parents who emphasis academic performance and the SAT exam too much to those who don’t encourage high performance enough. Supporting a child’s education without making it stressful is ideal, but it isn’t happening in every home. A 2006 survey in Massachusetts revealed that 46% of students drop out of high school due to family issues like a disruptive home life, lack of parental support, or a death in the family. A 2011 study on Indiana schools indicated that dropout rates are higher among students from single-parent or low-income homes.

Major High School Events

There are many momentous events that high school students hope to remember. Events like prom are certainly exciting, but they’re not without their dangers and stressors. Drinking influences are particularly strong on this night. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that alcohol-related accidents were responsible for 713 deaths of people under the age of 21 during the prom and graduation season in 2004.

Academic Achievements

The need to succeed is great for college-bound students, and most are keenly aware of the competition they face. The Common Application used by over 400 colleges nationwide has increased the number of lines for student activities from four to 10, indicating that many students today strive to overachieve. There is such a thing as too much, though. One study revealed that students participating in five activities a week scored higher than classmates, while those with more than ten scored lower even than those with no activities at all.

Drugs and Alcohol

In the Baltimore study, drugs in the neighborhood were a stressor for 48% of students. The 2012 Monitoring the Future survey revealed that 22.9% of 12th graders used marijuana within the last month. About 6.5% used marijuana daily. In the same study, 14.8 percent of 12th graders used prescription drugs recreationally within the last year. Though alcohol use has decreased in the last five years, 28.1% of 12th graders used alcohol within the last month.

Understanding high school stressors from SAT prep to social situations is a powerful starting point for those interested in helping young adults deal with these challenges.

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