Describe two external stressors that are unique to adolescents. Discuss what risk-taking behaviors may result from the external stressors and what support or coping mechanism can be introduced.
Re: Topic 3 DQ 2
External stressors that adolescence experience include peer pressure from from friends at school and body changes of puberty. Teens face peer pressure from their peers to look a certain way, engage in certain activities or act in a certain way. Failure to conform results in stress which leads to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, poor coping mechanisms and sometimes engage in bad activities to please their friends or to try and fit in. Body changes of puberty which include development of breasts and hips in girls and broader chest and shoulders in boys results in confusion and the need to explore sexuality.They may also face challenges with their body image leading to starving themeslves or over eating. To deal with the stress they encounter teens may engage in risky sexual behavior which may result in sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy, experimenting,use or abuse of drugs or illegal substances and alcohol, cigarette smoking, they may steal in order to have items to show off to their friends, vandalism. or school violence, not attending school or classes.(CDC 2021).
It is important for parents to identify problems early by listening carefully to teens, build trust, learn and model stress management skills and talk openly and give education about body changes and acceptance of these changes, implications of risky sexual bbehavior. . It is also important for parents to monitor television programs that the teens watch, support and promote involvement in sports and other social activities . When parents recognize that the problem may potentially get out of hand they may engage the help of a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor or social worker. Teens may be encouraged to excercise and eat regularly, get enough sleep, avoid illegal drugs,alcohol and tobacco, develop assertiveness training skills and express how they feel politely and not aggressively. It is important to encourage teens to decrease negative self talk and challenge negative thoughts with alternative neutral or positive thoughts,builld a network of friends who help them cope in a positive way. (American academy of child and adolescent psychiatry 2019).
Center for disease prevention and control. 2021. Parent information: Risk behavior. www.cdc.gov/parent/teens/risk-behavior
American Academyof child and adolescent psychiatry. 2019. Stress management and teens. www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families-and-youth
Raising Children network Australia.2019.Risky behavior in pre-teens and teenagers:how to handle it. www.raisingchildren.net.au/teens/behavior
Indeed, this is good work, Sharon. You have provided insightful post about external stressors that are unique to adolescents. I agree with you. According to American Psychological Association (2021), various coping mechanisms can be introduced to address stress among adolescents. For instance, the association recommends prioritization of sleep to check stress. Adequate sleep also helps in emotional and physical well-being. Teenagers need sleep for about 8 to ten hours a night (Pascoe et al., 2020). The other mechanism is the creation of time for fun. Teens need time to engage in activities that give them joy such as practicing music, listening to music, dancing, practicing art, or playing with building bricks. Exercise is another important coping mechanism. Physical activity is important in relieving stress and children aged between 6 and 17 years should engage in at least 60 minutes of exercise daily (Rodriguez-Ayllon et al., 2019). Importantly, teenagers should learn to talk about the stressors with a trusted adult to help them in putting their ideas in perspective and finding solutions (American Psychological Association, 2021).
American Psychological Association. (2021). How to help children and teens manage their stress. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/child-development/stress
Pascoe, M. C., Hetrick, S. E., & Parker, A. G. (2020). The impact of stress on students in secondary school and higher education. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25(1), 104-112. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673843.2019.1596823
Rodriguez-Ayllon, M., Cadenas-Sánchez, C., Estévez-López, F., Muñoz, N. E., Mora-Gonzalez, J., Migueles, J. H., … & Esteban-Cornejo, I. (2019). Role of physical activity and sedentary behavior in the mental health of preschoolers, children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports medicine, 49(9), 1383-1410. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-019-01099-5
Re: Topic 3 DQ 2
There is evidence that many adolescents have mental health problems due to various stressors (Eisenstadt et al., 2020). The construct “stressor” has numerous definitions. A stressor is a chronic event or condition that endangers the physical or psychological health of persons of a certain age in a particular society (Eisenstadt et al., 2020). I will address two stressors that negatively affect adolescents: bullying and parental illness.
Bullying is an issue for adolescents in many schools and social settings. Unequal power distribution may cause stress, low self-esteem, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and various health and psychological issues (Tenenbaum et al., 2011). This stressor may lead to a range of risk-taking behaviors in victims, such as aggressive and impulsive behaviors (Poon, 2016). There is mixed evidence of victims being more susceptible to addictive behaviors (Poon, 2016). Recommended coping strategies vary depending on the context. Sometimes controlling anger, finding support groups, and other forms of socialization can help (Tenenbaum et al., 2011). According to some studies, problem-focused strategies (understanding the problem and seeking solutions) are more effective than emotion-focused strategies associated with controlling emotions (Tenenbaum et al., 2011). However, some emotion-focused strategies are effective in dealing with bullying (Tenenbaum et al., 2011).
Parental illness can be an impactful stressor for adolescents that affects their psychological and physical health. Studies show that adolescents whose parents are ill may experience depression, anxiety. They may also externalize parental symptoms (Pedersen & Revenson, 2005, p. 409). This stressor may lead to risk-taking behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual risk, and conduct problems (Pedersen & Revenson, 2005, p. 409). Some of these behaviors can be affected by other economic, sociological and cultural factors (Pedersen & Revenson, 2005, p. 409). The psychological and social support of relatives and friends may help as an effective coping strategy (Pedersen & Revenson, 2005, p. 414). Depending on the severity of the illness, modifying the adolescent’s subjective perception of the severity of the parent’s illness can reduce stress (Pedersen and Revenson, 2005, p. 411).
The effectiveness of strategies that contribute to solving the problems of these stressors depends on many factors. As a result, their impact varies depending on psychological differences among adolescents, cultural, economic, and sociological variations.
Eisenstadt/University College London, M. I., Stapley, E., Deighton/Anna Freud Centre, J., &Wolpert/University College London, M. (2020, December). Adolescent stressors and their perceived effects on mental well-being: A qualitative study. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346729988_Adolescent_Stressors_and_Their_Perceived_Effects_on_Mental_Well-Being_A_Qualitative_Study
Pedersen, S., & Revenson, T. A. (2005). Parental illness, family functioning, and adolescent well-being: A family ecology framework to guide research. Journal of Family Psychology, 19(3), 404-419. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-318.104.22.1684
Poon, K. (2016). Understanding risk-taking behavior in bullies, victims, and bully victims using cognitive- and emotion-focused approaches. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01838
Tenenbaum, L. S., Varjas, K., Meyers, J., & Parris, L. (2011). Coping strategies and perceived effectiveness in fourth through eighth grade victims of bullying. School Psychology International, 32(3), 263-287. https://doi.org/10.1177/0143034311402309
Your focus on external stressors that are unique to adolescents is well done and detailed. In concurrence, many adolescents are at risk of experiencing several stressors that may lead to adverse affective experiences. Adolescence is a time of change and development for many young people across different domains. One of the coping mechanisms is the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). This approach is anchored on the principle that mediation is essential in effective application and regulation of attention to successfully manage and treat several psychological symptoms such as emotional response to depression, anxiety, and stress (Goldberg et al., 2019). Mindfulness approaches can be used to minimize adverse emotional reactions that emanate from or increase psychiatric complexities and exposure to stressors in teenagers and their parents (Perry-Parrish et al., 2016). Mindfulness approaches is more appropriate for adolescents with cognitive processes. Studies indicate that teenagers who practices mindfulness experience drastically less mental distress compared to their counterparts who do not practice mindfulness (Lindsey et al., 2018).
Goldberg, S. B., Tucker, R. P., Greene, P. A., Davidson, R. J., Kearney, D. J., & Simpson, T. L. (2019). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the treatment of current depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis. Cognitive behaviour therapy, 48(6), 445-462. https://doi.org/10.1080/16506073.2018.1556330
Lindsey, L., Robertson, P., & Lindsey, B. (2018). Expressive arts and mindfulness: Aiding adolescents in understanding and managing their stress. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 13(3), 288-297. https://doi.org/10.1080/15401383.2018.1427167
Perry-Parrish, C., Copeland-Linder, N., Webb, L., Shields, A. H., & Sibinga, E. M. (2016). Improving self-regulation in adolescents: current evidence for the role of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Adolescent health, medicine and therapeutics, 7, 101. doi: 10.2147/AHMT.S65820
Re: Topic 3 DQ 2
Teens face numerous stressors through their life and often difficult to avoid. Two external stressors that affect teens and influence them to use risky behaviors are peer pressure and divorce of parents. Peer pressure continues to be a stressor that teens must deal in their everyday life. Teens feel they must think, act, and look a certain way, they look to their peers to understand social norms. They are longing for an increased need for social connection and peer acceptance, and a heightened sensitivity to peer influence (Andrews et al., 2020). They are always having to deal with pressure from their peers. Teens are more likely to experiment drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes when in presence other teens to fit in or look for approval. They may also engage in early sexual activity just because their friends are sexually active.
Divorce of parents can impact teens’ life for years to come. Studies have shown that children who do not live with two original parents in the same household report poor mental health outcomes compared to their peers in nuclear families (Bohman et al., 2017). Parental separation can affect teens’ behavior significantly, as it can lead to residential moves which for teens may entail entering new school and having to make new friends in an already stressful situation. Changing schools has been associated with increased risk of adverse mental health (Bohman et al., 2017). Teens from divorced parents may suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
Teenagers may experience stress every day and can learn and benefit from stress management skills. Teens can decrease stress with following behaviors and techniques
Exercise and eat regularly
Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine
Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco
Take a break from stressful situations. Engage to activities such as listening to music, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, or spending time with a pet (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2019)
American Academy of child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2019). Stress management and teens. https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Helping-Teenagers-With-Stress-066.aspx
Andrews, J. L., Foulkes, L., & Blakemore, S.J. (2020). Peer influence in adolescence: Public health implications for COVID-19. Trends Cognitive Science, 24(8): 585-587. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2020.05.001
Bohman, H., Laftman, S.B., Päären, A., & Johnson, U (2017). Parental separation in childhood as a risk factor for depression in adulthood: A community-based study of adolescents screened for depression and followed up after 15 years. BMC Psychiatry 17: 117. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-017-12522-z
This is an outstanding work. You have provided a thoughtful and detailed response about external stressors that are unique to adolescents. I agree with you. Essentially, other external stressors that are common among adolescents are academic demands and sexual orientation. To begin with academic demands, school results characterize key consideration in university acceptance and future careers. As such, academic demands are relatively high for teens leading to exam stress (Giota & Gustafsson, 2017). The high academic demands have considerable impact on the wellness of teenagers. In particular, more stress emanating from school work is linked to high psychological and psychosomatic concerns in teenagers. Regarding the sexual orientation, the social perception of sexual orientation is changing but the stress associated with it hardly changing, especially for young people. Teenagers in minority groups such as LGBTI are experiencing stress and how to cope with the stress (Feinstein, 2020). Research indicates high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression among LGBTI teenagers. These teenagers also record high utilization of maladaptive coping techniques such as blame and denial (Toomey et al., 2018).
Feinstein, B. A. (2020). The rejection sensitivity model as a framework for understanding sexual minority mental health. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 49(7), 2247-2258. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1428-3
Giota, J., & Gustafsson, J. E. (2017). Perceived demands of schooling, stress and mental health: Changes from grade 6 to grade 9 as a function of gender and cognitive ability. Stress and Health, 33(3), 253-266. doi: 10.1002/smi.2693
Toomey, R. B., Ryan, C., Diaz, R. M., & Russell, S. T. (2018). Coping with sexual orientation–related minority stress. Journal of Homosexuality, 65(4), 484-500. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2017.1321888