Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Health Wise

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Health Wise

Article excerpt

Reducing Stress By Improving Study Skills

Nearly 40% of parents say high school is stressful for their children, according to a recent survey.

The Education and Health in Schools survey (NPR, RWJF, and HSPH 2013) polled 1,368 parents or guardians of K--12 students. Of the respondents, 477 were parents or guardians of students in grades 9 to 12.

The survey asked parents whether their child had had stress over the last school year from a variety of potentially stressful school experiences. Nearly 4 in 10 parents of high school students say their child experienced a lot of stress, with 1 in 4 of those citing homework as a major stressor. Parents overall cited grades and homework as stressors more often than other school-related issues, such as getting along with teachers and other students, bullying, or violence.

Nearly one-fifth (19%) of parents overall said their children's schools do not offer counseling for students suffering from stress or other mental health issues. Lack of counseling services can mean more problems falling on classroom teachers to handle.

Another study shows that more high school students may be stressed out than parents think (APA 2009). The APA surveyed 1,568 U.S. adults and 1,206 youth ages 8 to 17, including 134 parents of high school students and 670 students ages 13 to 17. Among the parents of high school students and the high school students themselves, the APA found that teens were more likely to report that they worry about things related to school than parents perceived. Over a quarter (29%) of students ages 13--17 reported that they worry about getting into a good college and deciding what to do after high school, when only 5% of parents of 13- to 17-year-olds agreed this was a source of stress for their child.

In addition, the APA survey showed that 36% of parents of high school students said schoolwork and grades were sources of stress for their children, while 43% of the teens themselves said schoolwork and grades were stressors.

Classroom activity

Chronic stress has been linked to many significant physical and emotional health problems (see the December 2012 Health Wise), and it's important that your students learn to recognize their stressors, signs of stress, and personal coping techniques (see "On the web"). …

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