More Students Stressed Today Than During The Great Depression

5:46 PM, Jan 11, 2010   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) - "I got stress. Bills to pay. Getting out, just everyday life," says George Mason University graduate student, Matt Baroch.

It's not a surprise college students are stressed out.

Grad student, Hantke, says filling out applications for nursing school and living at home with her mother is very stressful.

But are students more stressed than those of the Great Depression? That's what researchers at five universities found. They analyzed the responses in a long-running survey of more than 77,000 high school or college students from 1938 to 2007.

"I thought it was a credible study."

George Mason psychologist Dr. Jerome Short says many factors contribute to the stress and anxiety levels affecting today's students.

"Biologically, students today aren't getting enough sleep or exercise. That hurts mood and learning."

Also, because today's families are less stable and more spread out, support systems aren't as strong as they used to be.  Short also says the internet can add to pressure.

"Expectations are higher. With Facebook and Myspace and the media, peers often exaggerate their position in life, which can add to the pressure students feel to keep up."

The author of the study says today's extreme focus on external features, such as wealth, looks and status, help contribute to increasing mental health issues.

Graduate student Casey Griffin says the study shows, "There are people in need. We should figure out a way to help them."

Short says at GMU, they try to let students know counselors are available.

But student Barach said he talked to a counselor and it really didn't help.

"Just want to get out of this mess," says Baroch.

Written by Peggy Fox

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