Stress and mental health in adolescence: interrelationship and time trends

Ann Hagell, Seija Sandberg and Robert Macdonald

in Changing Adolescence

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9781447301042
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447307242 | DOI:
Stress and mental health in adolescence: interrelationship and time trends

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This chapter asks whether the increase in adolescent mental health problems has been accompanied by an increase in stress. Commentators have tended to use the evidence of rising levels of anxiety and depression as evidence that stress has risen, but this confuses mental health and stress and creates a tautology. This chapter unpicks some of the conceptual and research challenges in this area, and concludes that stress is a particularly salient construct in adolescence that is clearly related to mental health outcomes. However, despite widespread assumptions, there are no good, repeated surveys of adolescent stressors in the UK over the last three decades, and much of the material on stress simply buys into the zeitgeist rather than challenging it. Implications for further research are provided.

Keywords: Adolescence; Stress; Mental health; Puberty; Family processes; Psychological processes; Resilience

Chapter.  8450 words. 

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