Why do young peopleexperience high stress levels? Nordic Public Health conference Turku 2011 Pia Vedel Ankersen, S. Poulsen & F. Breinholt Larsen, Center for Public Health, Central Denmark Region
Agenda• Aim & Background• Data and methods• Results• Conclusions
Aim & BackgroundDescribe and explain why young peopleexperience high stress levelsStudies of young people’s wellbeing showthat young people experience high stresslevelsStudy based on the health survey “How areyou?”, conducted in Central DenmarkRegion, shows the same result
Data and methods ISurvey data Qualitative data based on interviewsQuestionnaire Open interview (structured by themes)• 16 years and older • Personal interviews: 17• Random sample of 52.400 (2,500 • Group interviews: 36 interviews with respondents from 17 municipalities, 4 resp. and 2 interviews with 3 resp. Aarhus 8,500 and Samsoe 1,400)• Response rate of 65 pct. (34,584 • Background: Liable for military respondents). service/draftee, High school• From 16 years to 24 years sample students, educational institution of 3902 response rate of 56 pct specializing in technical studies, young mothers, Health and social education …
Data and methods IICohen’s Perceived Stress Scale Quantitative questions survey data
Data and methods III – Qualitative dataInterview questions – How are you? – How is your day? – Look at the questions (PSS) – Are there anything you find hard or difficult?
Results• Self-evaluated health• Stress by age and gender• Stress by educational level and occupation• Experimenting for a path in life – a stressful experience?
Figure 1. Proportion with bad self-evaluated health – age and gender Pct 30 25 20 15 10 Male 5 Female 0 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75-79 Age
Figure 2. Proportion with high stress levels (PSS>16) – age and gender Pct Male 45 Femal 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75-79 Age
Figure 3. Proportion with high stress level (PSS>16) age and gender Pct Male 45 Female 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 16-18 19-21 22-24 Age
I. Experimenting for a path in life – a stressful experience?I: So you learned something?G: Yes – you learn a lot about yourself whenyou are being pushed. Especially if you arebeing pushed in areas where you don’texpect to be challenged (Female, liable formilitary service/draftee, PI).
II. Experimenting for a path in life – a stressful experience?• Relations and (new) situations – Friends, parents• Expectations• Everyday life• The wrong path in life – Crime and drugs
III. Experimenting for a path in lifeRelationships and situations S: Well, shes schizophrenic. And have a split personality. So its a little difficult just to find out what the hell is actually happening here? And so my father is an alcoholic. So hes been a little….. (Male, liable for military service/draftee, PI). C: Everything has been hard for me. I: How? C: Well, first of all coming out as a lesbian, all the people I lost, and then figuring out how to behave with people. Suddenly I liked girls, right? People looked at me in a different way. People also noticed me more than before, because "Hey, that’s the girl that digs girls.” (Lesbian girl, PI).
IV. Experimenting for a path in lifeExpectations A: There was no room for being a little ignorant pupil at all .. and after six months I just started to cry every night, I was completely finished when I came home from work. I could not, well, I did not have anything left in me (Female, 19 years, jobs Practice).
V. Experimenting for a path in lifeEveryday life – finding time for everythingN: It’s stressful, when there’s several things we must do at the sametime, that we must submit.. Well, it’s working late, I haven’t any time formyself, I don’t feel like I have (Female, 17 years SOSU, GI).Jo: Yes, well, if it’s like big tasks, then you know that you have a lot oftime before the task must be submitted. Then you don’t get started, andthen you end up feeling stressed at the end (Male, 17 years, HighSchool, GI)M: Well, I really want to plan every day. Because I do a lot of sports.And then when something just piles up, and I can’t seem to fit it i, thenit quickly gets…then it bothers me. And it influences everything, when Iplay or practice. Because it’s always in the back of my head, andirritates me. (Female 17 years, High School, GI).
VI. Experimenting for a path in lifeThe wrong path in life M. I had some problems, when I was younger, because of some drugs and stuff. And then I got away from it. It’s therefore that I have… half has been sorted away (friends), and now I only have the ones left that I feel are my good friends… Yes.. I don’t know, if you can call it a gang, but it was an entire group controlling the area, where we lived. With drugs and all that happened there. I: And that was in XXX or what? M: Yes. And also because of that, that I left it a little. That I could see for myself, how friends became enemies, and stuff like that... All because of money and drugs and... Yeah, well, I’m all right now, I don’t feel like there’s any problems with my life. But I can see that many think, that when you do hash and stuff like that, that’s not too smart, but I’m all right with it. (Male 24 years, Aarhus Tech, PI).
Conclusion• Young people have a higher stress level• Why?• Finding a way in life – Experiments – Learning is when you are pushed
Figure 5. Self-evaluated life-quality Pct Good 83 % Fair/ bad 17 % 60 50 50 40 33 30 20 14 10 2 1 0 Very Good Fair Bad Very good bad