Adolescent stress

Adolescent stress - Continuing Nursing Education Series...

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PEDIATRIC NURSING/September-October 2008/Vol. 34/No. 5 375 Adolescent Stress through The Eyes of High-Risk Teens “I am stressed out” is a phrase that has been echoed by teens down through the ages. The level of stress experienced by teens on a daily basis has been described in lay and profes- sional literature. Adults often under- estimate this level of stress and may not always be cognizant of the poten- tial consequences of stress on teens and young adults. This lack of appre- ciation of the stress experienced by adolescents may be partially related to a lack of awareness of the sources of stress in teen life, the changing nature of stressors through time, the ever-evolving complexities of adoles- cent life, and the tendency for adults to minimize their own personal stress during the teen years or compare their teen years to the experiences of oth- ers. Physiological development, cog- nitive differences, pubertal changes, immature coping mechanisms, slower recovery from stressful events, and lack of experience in dealing with stress may intensify the stressful events experienced by adolescents (Herrman, 2005). The purpose of this study was to determine teen perceptions about the stressors they face, offering an adoles- cent perspective to the literature relat- ed to teen stress. According to Lau (2002), teens “can experience a spec- trum of stresses ranging from ordinary to severe” (p. 238). Stress has been associated with a variety of high-risk behaviors, including smoking, suicide, depression, drug abuse, behavioral problems, and participating in high- risk sexual behaviors (Finkelstein, Kubzansky, Capitman, & Goodman, 2007; Finkelstein, Kubansky, & Goodman, 2006; Goodman, McEwan, Dolan, Schafer-Kalkhoff, & Adler, 2005). In addition, long-term expo- sure to stress is associated with a vari- ety of chronic psychological and physical illnesses (Goodman et al., 2005). High-risk teens, or those who live in social disadvantage, may be at increased risk for illness related to chronic exposure to stress, discrimi- nation, stigma, and a “harsh social environment” (Goodman et al., 2005, p. 485). Chandra and Batada (2006) purported that assessing adolescent stressors and “the impact of stress is the first step in the prevention and treatment of its associated chronic diseases” (p. 2). Understanding teen stressors may assist pediatric nurses working with adolescents by helping teens develop resilience to stress, thereby increasing teens’ levels of health (Tussaie, Puskar, & Sereika, 2007). Review of the Literature The word stress has emerged as a part of current daily vocabulary and is not always well defined as a concept or uniformly understood. Several authorities have defined stress as it relates specifically to teens. According to Goodman et al. (2005), stress refers to a stimulus generating psy- chosocial and physiologic demands, and requiring action on the part of the individual. Finkelstein et al. (2007) differentiate stress in the adolescent period as having both environmental (objective assessments of conditions) and psychological (subjective evalua- tions) perspectives of stressful events.
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Adolescent stress - Continuing Nursing Education Series...

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