Tag Archives: CA high school students

High School Students Discuss Stress, Anxiety, and Political Issues

44 high school students in Chico, CA, discuss stress, anxiety, and political issues. September, 2017

I asked 44 high school students in Chico, California, about their explanations for girls being more anxious and depressed than boys, according to national surveys. One boy said that male depression is prevalent too, as he knows from personal experience, so it may be we don’t know as much about what boys are really feeling due to social definitions of masculinity. The answers of these Advanced Placement students are found on the book webpage.[i] The most common explanation is female hormones impact emotion so “their brain is a chemical maelstrom.” They’re always moody, said one boy. Another said that the motherly instinct makes girls more emotional. They mature faster; “They take things more seriously so they get anxious about a test that a male might not even study for.”

The second most common explanation is that girls are held to a higher standard in their appearance and behavior, as “society holds women on this pedestal and many women think that they aren’t good enough and feel less than their counterparts,” magnified by comparison to fake posts on social media and airbrushed photos of models. Due to high expectations of perfection, “we always have to act polite and be conservative. They expect more from us but treat us worse than males.” There’s a double standard in appearance, so that “We are worried about the way we look and guys make it clear that eating nothing and being tan is considered hot.” That leads to the third explanation that a patriarchal society makes women anxious due to sexual assault, putdowns (called “hoes” and “stupid”) in a culture where young women are “slut shamed, cat called, put down, and left to basically do what men won’t.” Women are judged by their appearance and attractiveness to men, facing more ”societal scrutiny.” A boy observed, “Society is patriarchal and their lives are significantly more difficult. As a male, everything has literally always been easy for me. That is not the case for anyone who is not like me in color, class, or gender. Our society’s truly deplorable ongoing bias towards women is a strain on our collective unconscious.” It seem that young people believe that girls are more anxious and depressed because of their hormonal fluctuations, being held to a higher standard of appearance and behavior, and faced with more judgment and criticism in a society dominated by men. There’s nothing comparable to the excuse that “boys will be boys.

Causes of stress in this order

  • School, homework, tests
  • Family problems, pressure from parents
  • Social worries, drama
  • Time taken by work and sports
  • Personal worries about the future, social anxiety
  • Bad stuff happening around the world
  • Coping Techniques in this order:
  • Logic, reason, plan, organize, perspective
  • Sports
  • Sleep, nap, bath
  • Fun with friends
  • Talk with friends
  • Music
  • Pray, meditate, breathing
  • Social Media
  • Sex
 

 

 

Q3

 

 

Q4

 

 

English

English

Q1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Believing in primary sources, I asked a college-bound high school class in Chico, California, about increase in anxiety and depression among their generation. They vehemently agreed, with a show of hands, because they are so stressed. Most of them get around six or seven hours of sleep on an average weeknight because of homework, about a quarter of them also do paid work, plus school sports and other activities, and doing chores at home. By the time they take a shower and go to bed it’s midnight or later and they’re worried about all the tests and work they face the next day so they’re not relaxed. It’s hard to find time to hang out with friends and relax. They feel pressured by their parents to do well in school and go to college, but they know that they’ll probably graduate with student loans and may have trouble finding a good job. Like SpeakOut students around the world, despite the fact that their parents were once teenagers, things have changed with school work more intense and with more rules like having to wear seat belts or not being able to leave campus for lunch. As usual, they also feel their access to technology has changed them. They would like their parents to really listen to them, treat them with respect, realize they’re not children anymore and not complain if they don’t get an A on a test.