School, competition and peers – those are the top three things stressing out students in Naperville.
KidsMatter and North Central College psychology professor Patricia Schacht delivered those results from their October survey to a packed auditorium at the Naperville Municipal Center.
The survey polled seventh and tenth graders in districts 203 and 204 and found that school is the biggest contributing factor to kids’ stress.
“School is our kids’ jobs, right? They go every day; they’re experiencing it. So when it comes to the first category of school we weren’t really surprised,” said Schact.
Within the top three categories students gave more specific stressors including the need to fit in socially, worries about bullying, lack of a significant other, parent pressure and too much homework.
Seventy percent of seventh graders and nearly 80 percent of tenth graders reported moderate to high daily stress.
And about half of those students said that stress makes it difficult for them to perform daily tasks.
“They basically said that it’s so overwhelming that they can’t concentrate. They lose track of what they’re working on, they worry and therefore get off task and they can’t focus,” Schacht explained.
One result that researches found alarming was that half of the kids surveyed said they rarely or never talk to someone about it.
“Sometimes our kids don’t reveal everything to us that we ask them about at home, and sometimes these meetings help us shed light on various things that our kids are going through that we don’t even know about as parents,” said Jim Ruhl, a parent of a high school senior.
But they are finding ways to cope with their stress. Many students reported turning to Netflix, YouTube, video games and friends to deal with stress.
But 16 percent of tenth graders report using alcohol to cope with stress, and five percent say they have used drugs to alleviate stress.
In order to deal with their stress, the kids surveyed said they want less homework, more time and better sleep.
When asked how adults can help, students said they want education regarding stress, they want adults to recognize they have a lot going on, and they want adults to talk with them, not at them.
The results of the survey will be used to develop workshops and educational material to decrease student stress.
Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.
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