Study: Youth Now Have More Mental Health Issues

depressionA new study has found that five times as many high school and college students are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues than youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era. The findings, culled from responses to a popular psychological questionnaire used as far back as 1938, confirm what counselors on campuses nationwide have long suspected as more students struggle with the stresses of school and life in general. “It’s another piece of the puzzle — that yes, this does seem to be a problem, that there are more young people who report anxiety and depression,” says Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor and the study’s lead author. “The next question is: what do we do about it?”

Though the study, released Monday, does not provide a definitive correlation, Twenge and mental health professionals speculate that a popular culture increasingly focused on the external — from wealth to looks and status — has contributed to the uptick in mental health issues.

Pulling together the data for the study was no small task. Led by Twenge, researchers at five universities analyzed the responses of 77,576 high school or college students who, from 1938 through 2007, took the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI. The results will be published in a future issue of the Clinical Psychology Review.

Overall, an average of five times as many students in 2007 surpassed thresholds in one or more mental health categories, compared with those who did so in 1938. A few individual categories increased at an even greater rate — with six times as many scoring high in two areas:

— “hypomania,” a measure of anxiety and unrealistic optimism (from 5 percent of
students in 1938 to 31 percent in 2007)

— and depression (from 1 percent to 6 percent).

Twenge said the most current numbers may even be low given all the students taking antidepressants and other psychotropic medications, which help alleviate symptoms the survey asks about. Read full article in APP.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. we have to make sure to give our kids space and safe extra outlets so they should not crack under too much pressure. there is nothing wrong if boys yeshivos would give extra time for sports and such they need safe outlets.

  2. Although I agree with study, I still question who commissioned it, because if it was done by psychologists, one must realize that it is their best interest to claim as many people as possible have mental issues, as a or, THE source, of their problems, because that is what their Parnossah comes form.

  3. why does lkwd have the most at risk kids?

    It does?What is this statement based on?Please verify it.How come I never heard of any mechanach, or even person who deals with kids at risk, leave Lakewood for the better Chinuch, and smaller percentage of kids at risk that is to be found elsewhere?

  4. Its because the doctors today have a name for everything, they think there is no such thing as a brat. Well its time for parents to get a bit tougher and don’t bow to your kids for everything. I do understand that there are real cases of children that have real problems, I can understand that being that I myself have a slight case of O.C.D but I deal with it I don’t run to get meds we are just falling into the evil trap of doctors by running for medication.

  5. #7 I know all about O.C.D. It never goes away its your personality you have to train yourself that it doesn’t effect your life by exposing your self to what ever it is that is affecting you, its called cognitive behavioral therapy. When it doesn’t affect you anymore it just like any other thought that a person has. I have read a ton and spoke to professionals about this, medication is a last resort and its not a good one in my opinion.

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