How Stressed Are Kids? More Than We Think

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How Stressed Are Kids? More Than We Think

Worrying about school and about their family's finances are causing the most stress for kids, according to the American Psychological Association, which for the first time included young people ages 8 to 17 in its annual Stress in America survey, released Tuesday.

The survey of 1,206 young people and 1,568 adults, conducted over the summer by Harris Interactive, found that parents underestimated the level of stress children feel and the causes of that stress, often thinking that family relationships or activities cause more stress than children say they actually do.

Among findings:

•44% of young people say doing well in school was a source of stress.

•30% worry about their family having enough money.

•10% felt pressure over their extracurricular activities.

•8% say relationships with their parents were a source of stress.

In the survey, 63% of parents said they believed their stress levels had slight or no influence on their child's stress levels.

But psychologists say that doesn't reflect reality.

"If you ask the typical adult whether children are worried about the economy, you'd say, 'Of course not. They only have to worry about school,' " says pediatrician Kenneth Ginsburg, an associate professor at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

He says young people "absolutely worry about the things they see us worry about."

Source: USA Today