Being a teenager is, perhaps, one of the most interesting, intense, and at the same time, complicated periods in the life of almost any person. In our teen years, our experiences are especially acute and exiting; this age is connected with one’s search of their place in the world, of their self-identification and belonging. Teenagers face the real world problems more and more often, as well as encounter their first serious challenges and problems: at home, at school, in their relationships. The need to develop new behavioral models and adapt to social norms and look for one’s place in society can be stressful for a teenager. There exist several influential factors that are seen as stressful for adolescents.
Perhaps, one of the first values that they hold dear among teenagers is their popularity among peers. It is important to notice, though, that popularity in this context should be seen deeper – as a teenager’s striving for acceptance, for fitting in their peer group. Research shows that if teenagers fail to achieve certain levels of popularity (or believe to have done so), they may feel self-doubt. Disappointment in their own appearance, lack of dates or social status can become those reasons that evoke stress in a teenager.
The majority of teenagers in Canada, as well as in the rest of the world, are exposed to another stressful factor, which is studying at high school or college. According to a survey conducted by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, academic environment and concerns can be pressing for a teenager, always hanging in the top of their lists of problems. This group of stress factors includes teenagers’ fears about their future life and career (often boosted or inspired by parents); trying to receive good grades or to achieve self-realization among classmates; large amounts of homework; a necessity to prepare for exams, and so on. Multiplied by teenage maximalism and perfectionism, academic concerns become a powerful stress provocateur.
Yet another group of factors which can cause stress and depression among adolescents is relationships. This group includes personal relationships of a teenager with their parents, peers, and the opposite sex. According to statistics, 56% of stressful situations in teenagers’ lives are connected to parents; 52% with friends; and 48% of stressors were connected to romantic relationships (Teen Help). It is not surprising that so many stressors are connected to the sphere of personal relationships, considering that in teenage years individuals learn to act, interact, and react within society, and develop new behavioral models.
Adolescence is an age which makes teenagers encounter various social and personal challenges; respectively, this period is associated with an increased number of potentially stressful factors. Among the most influential of them one can name teenagers’ striving for acceptance and popularity; academic concerns and environment; and personal relationships, which include contacts with parents, friends, and romance.