The Effects of Stress Among Adolescents Nowadays Essay

The College at Brockport: State University of New York Digital Commons @Brockport Counselor Education Master’s Theses Counselor Education 1-1-2007 The Effects of Group Counseling on Adolescent Stress Melissa I. Kurlan The College at Brockport Follow this and additional works at: http://digitalcommons. brockport. edu/edc_theses Part of the Student Counseling and Personnel Services Commons Recommended Citation Kurlan, Melissa I.

, “The Effects of Group Counseling on Adolescent Stress” (2007). Counselor Education Master’s Theses.Paper 63. This Thesis is brought to you for free and open access by the Counselor Education at Digital Commons @Brockport. It has been accepted for inclusion in Counselor Education Master’s Theses by an authorized administrator of Digital Commons @Brockport.

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For more information, please contact [email protected] edu. The effects of Running head: THE EFFECTS OF GROUP COUNSELING The Effects of Group Counseling on Adolescent Stress Melissa I. Kurlan State University of New York College at Brockport 1 The effects of 2 AcknowledgementsThe author wishes to acknowledge the help and support of significant individuals who have helped make this project possible.

First the author would like to thank Dr. Thomas Hernandez of SUNY Brockport for help with preparation of this manuscript and advisement on this project. Second, the author would like to thank Gates Chili Middle School for its support and participation in this project, especially School Counselor Kelly Hunt.

Lastly, the author would like to thank her father, Dr. Roger Kurlan, for his help with editing, and emotional support. The effects of Table of ContentsAppendix C: Activity: Progressive Relaxation Script D. Appendix D: Activity: Three Types of Stressful Situations E. Appendix E: Activity: Centering the Mind F. Appendix F: Activity: Meditation Script G.

Appendix G: Informed Consent for Minors H. Appendix H: Informed Consent for Parents 3 The effects of List of Tables and Figures I. Table 1: Teen Inventory on Common Stressors and Stress Symptoms: Stress Symptoms (Schmitz ; Hipp, 1995) …………………………………. 33 II. Table 2: Teen Inventory on Common Stressor and Stress Symptoms: Stressors (Schmitz ; Hipp, 1995)……………………………………………35III.

University of Minnesota Adolescent Health Program: Measuring Emotional Stress (Blum ; Resnick, 1986)………………………. 37 4 The effects of 5 Abstract The current literature has emphasized the prominent impact of stress on the lives adolescents and the need for counselors to implement stress management and coping progams. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not psycho-educational group counseling in the school relieves stress among adolescent students identified as experiencing excessive stress.This study also examined gender differences in the severity and types of stress and response to the counseling intervention. Two separate groups (male and female) of 6-8 sixth grade students participated in ten weeks of structured group counseling that took place during the school day and focused on stress and coping.

The results indicated that group counseling does indeed reduce stress among adolescents of both genders, although there were some gender differences in the character of response.The study also found that there was no major difference in the total amount of stress symptoms reported by males and females, although there were gender differences in specific types of stress symptoms reported. Thus, psycho-educational group counseling conducted in the school setting appears to be a useful intervention for reducing stress among adolescent students. Male and female students do show some differences in the quality of stress reported and in the response to counseling. The effects of 6 The Effects of Group Counseling on Adolescent StressThis review focuses on the effects of group counseling interventions to reduce stress in adolescents.

In today? s society, adolescents are faced with stress unlike any other generation before (Elkind, 1984). Elkind (1984) is quoted as saying that “Contemporary American society has struck teenagers a double blow. It has rendered them more vulnerable to stress while at the same time exposing them to new and more powerful stresses than were ever faced by previous generations of adolescents” (p. 6). Elkind (2001) also suggested that “today? child has become the unwilling, unintended victim of overwhelming stress- the stress borne of rapid, bewildering social change and constantly rising expectations” (p. 3). For these reasons, Schmitz ; Hipp (1995) noted the importance for counselors working with adolescents to teach ways to help students deal with this issue and to be aware of the risk factors associated with adolescent stress. Hains (1994) noted that adolescent stress has been linked to various psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, delinquent behavior, decreased self-esteem, eating disorders, and suicidality.

Sandler ; Wolchik et al. (1997) reported that “improving child and adolescent adaptation to stress has been identified as one of the most promising approaches to preventing the development of problems of childhood and adolescence” (p. 3). First, this review will discuss stress in general, its definitions, and types. Second, it will explore the literature on adolescence and why this period of development is particularly susceptible to stress related issues. The symptoms and causes of stress in adolescence are discussed as well as coping strategies that adolescents typically use to combat stress.

This review will also focus on gender differences among adolescents in stress and coping strategies. Lastly, the literature on the effects of working with students through group counseling to teach stress management and coping skills will be discussed. The effects of 7 What is stress? Richard Lazarus defined stress as “a fluid, dynamic and constantly changing bidirectional relationship between the person and the environment and as such is considered an ordinary component of everyday living” (Lazarus, 1984 p. 128) Selye (1974) described stress as any stimulus in the environment that upsets an individual? s homeostasis or balance.These changes can be either positive or negative but either way they affect the person? s life in some form or another (Gladding, 1999 p. 264).

Lazarus went on to describe psychological stress as “a relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding their resources and endangering the individual? s well-being” (Lazarus, 1984, p. 128). Therefore, it is not the stressful event itself that causes anxiety in the individual but rather the appraisal of the amount of threat, harm, or challenge it poses to the individual and their assessment of their coping resources to deal with it.Selye (1978) added to Lazarus? s description of stress by noting that the human body reacts in specific and stereotypical ways to any extra demands made upon it. These demands can be physical, emotional, or intellectual. Selye (1978) described these situations, events or people who produce this extra demand as “stressors”. According to Selye (1978) all humans have a certain amount of “adaption energy” that allows them to deal with the demands of these stressors.

Usually this “adaption energy” is replenished each night with sleep, eating, and relaxation.However, some stressors require more “adaption energy” than others. These demands are “any unusual demand for adaption that forces us to call upon our energy reserves over and above that which we ordinarily expand and replenish” (Selye, 1978).

These unusual demands result in a The effects of 8 “stress response” which often occurs from emotional overload, causing emotional, physiological, cognitive and social responses (Selye, 1978). Types of Stress Compas (1987) differentiated two types of stress: acute and chronic.He described acute stresses as single events such as a life transition or an uncharacteristic event. Examples would be a first date, sickness, or getting into trouble in school. Chronic stress refers to reoccurring demands such as financial difficulties, academic concerns, or a disability. Acute stressors can turn into chronic stressors the longer they prevail (Frydenberg, 1997 p.

14). Hammen (1991, 1992) conceptualized a stress-generation model, which focuses on the difference between independent and dependent life events, which cause stress.Independent events are those outside the individual? s control such as a death of a family member. Dependent life events are those in which an individual contributes to in some way such as getting into trouble in school. Previously most literature focused on independent life events that cause stress, but newer research has examined both aspects (Rudolph ; Hammen, 1999). Elkind (1998) distinguished three types of stressors. The first is foreseeable and avoidable in which the individual is aware the stressor is looming but can prevent it from occurring.An example of this type of stress would be taking the lead in a school play or going on a date.

The second type is foreseeable but unavoidable in which the individual knows the stressor is imminent but cannot prevent it. Examples of this type would be puberty or a final exam. The last and often most stressful type is unforeseeable and unavoidable in which the individual doesn? t know the stressor is coming and cannot prevent it.

Examples of this type include car accidents, death of a pet or loved one, or parental divorce (Elkind, 1998).The effects of 9 Coping An individual? s mechanism for dealing with stress involves coping. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) define coping as “constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person” (p. 141).

Coping “is made up of the responses (thoughts, feelings, and actions) an individual uses to deal with problematic situations that are encountered in everyday life and in particular circumstances” (Frydenberg, 1997 p. 25).Coping includes any method a person uses to adapt and deal with the circumstances in their environment, both purposeful and unconscious (Frydenberg, 1997). Lazarus (1984) differentiated between emotion-focused and problemfocused coping. In emotion-focused coping, adolescents change the way they emotionally respond to the stress to regulate their emotional state. Examples of this form include avoidance, selective attending, denial, regression, withdrawal, and cognitive restructuring of the stressor (Washburn- Ormachea, ; Hillman et al.

, 2004).Problem focused coping involves dealing with the issue, such as working hard, or solving the problem (Frydenberg ; Lewis, 2004). “According to Lazarus, in the coping process there is both a problem-focused aspect and an emotion-focused aspect present in each interaction” (Frydenberg, ; Lewis 1997 p. 25).

Most researchers agree that the more effective ways of coping involve facing and accepting the stress (Santrock, 1990). Several coping strategies such as seeking support, problem-solving, monitoring, relaxation, physical activity, cognitive-restructuring, and self-talk have been determined to be successful (Donaldson ; Prinstein et al. 2000). Adolescents often use less effective coping strategies such as wishful thinking, distancing/denial, and self-blame. “Research on child coping indicates that children and adolescents typically utilize more than one strategy in response to stress” (Donaldson ; Prinstein et al. , 2000 p. 351). The most common form of adolescent coping is The effects of 10 avoiding the stress, which unfortunately contradicts the suggestion of Brenner (1984) that acknowledging and accepting the stress is usually more ffective in the long term.

Adolescents avoid stress in many ways including denial (pretending the stress does not exist), regression (act younger than their age) and withdrawal (remove themselves mentally or physically from the stress) (Santrock, 1990). Lazarus also noted that one of the most important factors in adolescents choosing to solve or seek help to deal with stress has to do with their feelings of having control over events and having personal resources to deal with stressors (Lazarus, 1984).Therefore, it is important for adolescents to learn to have confidence in themselves and their personal resources to cope with life stressors. Teaching coping skills is important for adolescents. One study by Elias ; Gara et. al. (1986) found that a program teaching fifth grade students social problem-solving skills resulted in the students feeling more effective in coping with stressors they encountered during middle school. Santrock (1990) noted that “adolescents who have a number of coping techniques have the best chance of adapting and functioning competently in the face of stress” (p.

79). Stress in Adolescence One of the most stressful periods in human development is the period of adolescence, which has been characterized as “a time of unevenness and paradoxes marked by personal change” (Gladding, 1999 p. 473). „Adolescence? was a term first coined by Hall in 1904 as a time of „heightened emotionality? , „storm and stress? , experimentation, and a desire for independence (Hall, 1904). Erikson (1968) believed that the stress during this period of development was a normative factor of the adolescent? s search for identity.

He did not see this period of storm and stress, (he called it an “identity crisis”, as negative, but rather a necessary and adaptive process The effects of 11 that fostered the development of coping skills needed later in life (Erikson, 1968). This period of search for identity occurs in a time of transition from childhood to adulthood and is also marked by many developmental changes. These changes are physical, cognitive, emotional and social (Gladding, 1999). Adolescence is characterized by great physical changes in the body brought on by the onset of puberty.Such physical changes can influence self-image, a search for sexual and personal identity, and impact personality factors like “self-esteem, confidence, shyness, and anxiety” (Frrydenburg, 1997 p. 9). Cognitive changes occurring during this time include the development of more abstract and hypothetical thinking and moral reasoning, which influences adolescents? interpretation of life events.

Changes in emotion are also heightened during this time with frequent mood changes and disruptions which evidence has suggested are due to the hormonal changes that accompany puberty (Arnett, 1999).Lastly, adolescents face the social tasks of formation of identity, independence from the family, fitting into social groups, fulfilling social roles within a family, and succeeding in academics (Frydenberg, 1997, p. 6). Many theorists have viewed adolescence in their own perspectives. Elkind (1984) described it as a period “marked by the „shock? of moving from the culture of childhood to the culture of adulthood” (Frydenberg, 1997 p. 6). Adolescents face the pressures of accepting the new roles and responsibilities of behaving like an adult while at the same time not having all of the freedoms and privileges of adulthood.Elkind went on to note that “the extent to which the transition is experienced as stressful is generally dependent on an impact and interplay between individual and situational determinants” (Frydenberg, 1997 p.

6). Gladding (1999) noted that “adolescents must cope with crisis in identity, extraordinary peer pressures, dramatic personal changes, impending career decisions, the desire for independence, and self doubt” (p. 264). The effects of 12 Prevalence of Stress in Adolescence It is important to note that today? research suggests that adolescence is not universally a time of storm and stress with many adolescents passing through this stage with little problem. However, “there still appears to be a tendency for adolescents as a group to experience higher levels of stress than individuals in older and younger age groups (Sullivan, 2003 p.

6). How common is stress in adolescence? One study reported that 21% of teens and adolescents reported feeling under stress or pressure “most or all of the time” and that rates escalated each year from sixth to 12th grade (Schmitz ; Hipp, 1995 p. ). Also, de Anda (1998) found that in a study of middle school students “one quarter to one third of respondents self-reported experiencing high levels of stress on a daily and weekly basis.

Moreover, they evaluated their coping strategies to be generally low, and at best moderate in effectiveness” (de Anda, 1998 p. 74). Why stress is a problem Stress in adolescence is an important issue for counselors because of its implications for young people? s healthy development. De Anda and Bradley, et al. 1997) noted that adolescence is a time when individuals are “particularly at risk given the limits of their psychosocial and cognitive development and their life experiences” (p.

88). A study by Washburn-Ormachea and Hillman et al. (2004) noted “acute stressors and minor daily hassles have been associated with adolescent maladjustment and the later development of dysfunction and psychopathology” (p. 31). Adolescent stress has been observed to lead to various psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, delinquent behavior, decreased self-esteem, eating disorders, and suicidality (Hains, 1994).Suicide has become the third leading cause of death for adolescents (Wilburn ; Smith, 2005) and Schmitz ; Hipp (1995) found the strongest predictor of suicide risk among teens to be high emotional stress.

This problem is extremely prevalent for females with one The effects of 13 source noting that each year “one in ten adolescent females will attempt suicide” (Schmitz ; Hipp, 1995 p. 2). Compared to boys girls attempt suicide more often but are less successful, which has led to higher actual suicide rates for males (Schmitz ; Hipp, 1995).Other subtler ways adolescents often deal with stress involve bullying, acting out, becoming withdrawn, developing a low tolerance for frustration, and underachievement (Smead-Morganett, 1990). If the individual has not learned appropriate coping strategies in adolescence stress has also been linked to health issues often occurring later in life, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels (Ames ; Offord, et al. 2005), heart disease and cancer (Schmitz ; Hipp, 1995). Increased stress during adolescence can also lead to health problems secondary to drinking, drug use, or smoking.

Some research has suggested that even minor stress or “hassles” can have an impact on general well being (Ames ; Offord et al. , 2005). Adolescence can be a particularly vulnerable time as one study concludes that “when daily stressors occur in combination or when developmental changes and major stress events occur simultaneously, then the negative impact on youth seems to increase” (Hains, 1994). Elkind (1998) discussed the importance of teaching adolescents effective coping strategies in that “how we learn to deal with [stress] in childhood and adolescence determines how well we will handle it in our later years” (p. 89).

Schmitz and Hipp (1995) add that teaching life skills and effective coping strategies during adolescence gives students tools to be more equipped to manage stress and life events that occur later in life. Symptoms of Stress in Adolescence Adolescents display symptoms of stress in a number of different forms. Elkind (2001) reported that “how children respond to chronic stress depends upon several factors, including the child? s perception of the stress situation, the amount of stress he or she is under, and the The effects of 4 availability of effective coping mechanisms” (p.

186). Selye (1976) researched the physiological stress response in people and determined that most humans react to immediate stress in a stereotypical manner. In the initial shock stage, heartbeat becomes irregular, blood pressure falls, muscle tone is lost, and body temperature drops. After the initial shock, the counter shock stage occurs in which these symptoms are reversed in order to prepare the individual for defense known as the “fight-or-flight response” (Selye, 1976).Physiologically, chronic stress also manifests itself in frequent headaches or stomachaches, sweating, sleeping problems, crying and sadness, and excessive or under eating (Santrock, 1990). Stress can also result in headaches, indigestion, acne, and hives.

There are many long term physiological ailments that can result from prolonged stress. These include high blood pressure, ulcers, asthma, allergy attacks, and some forms of cancer (Santrock, 1990). Selye (1974, 1983) reported that the longer stress persists, the more damage it does to the adolescent’s body.Psychologically, stress in adolescence can result in aggression, boredom, anxiety and worry, irritability, passivity, lack of interest in things previously enjoyed, rebellion, withdrawal, isolation, and difficulty concentrating (Frydenberg, 1997 p. 22). Elkind (2001) refers to Freud? s notion of „free-floating anxiety? to describe how children feel restless, irritable and anxious due to chronic stress, not attached to a specific fear (p. 186).

Stress can manifest itself in other ways, leading to drug and alcohol addiction, truancy or school refusal, gang behavior, promiscuity, and violence (Frydenberg, 1997 p. 2). Adolescent Stressors There are many life stressors that typical adolescents face. One study noted that “stressors for adolescents appear in various forms including catastrophic events, personal loss, daily aggravations, and normal developmental transitions” (Hains, 1994 p.

114). These stressors can The effects of 15 vary from minor ones and “hassles” to major stressors from catastrophic life changes and events. While some stressors may be seen as major life events, Armacost (1989) proposed that it is the cumulative build up of regular daily stressors that has the greatest impact on adolescents? lives.The most common stressors faced by typical adolescents can be categorized into family, social (peer), academic, and societal challenges. Family stressors Family stressors have a major impact on adolescents? lives since they are still largely dependent on the family unit. As adolescents begin to test limits of independence, parent-youth conflict often arises (Hains, 1992). In addition, family changes such as divorce or separation of parents, remarriage of a parent, death of a family member or pet, birth of a sibling, moving, and family financial challenges are major causes of stress for adolescents (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995).

Many adolescents also face family stress caused by physical or sexual abuse and by chaotic living conditions (Kessler & Edelman et al. , 2000). Arnold (1990) noted that parental stress can have a significant affect on adolescents. When parents are stressed by challenges such as mental illness, marital discord, unemployment, and low socioeconomic status it causes great strain on the family (Arnold, 1990).

Social Stressors The adolescent? s relationship with peers is one of the most central aspects of this time period.Peer relationships and friendships help adolescents identify who they are and associations within a peer group foster their sense of identity and belonging (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995). Peer relationship problems (de Anda, 1998) and dating anxieties (Hains, 1992) associated with testing relationships with the opposite sex become central causes for stress in adolescent lives. Much of the stress involves fitting in, maintaining and developing friendships, being made fun of or The effects of 16 rejected, loyalty, commitment and first dealings with intimacy (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995).Santrock (1990) described how in an adolescent? s world, how they are perceived by their peers is often the most important aspect of their lives.

Many adolescents will do anything to fit in with the group and exclusion is one of the most prevalent forms of stress. Pressure to conform to peers in order to be included is a central aspect of their lives and can lead to the adolescent partaking in activities or acting out in ways that are detrimental to themselves in order to be accepted (Santrock, 1990).Stress in adolescents also comes from their changing bodies and physical appearance and worry over whether their changes are „normal? in relation to their peer group (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995). Academic Stressors Because adolescents spend the majority of their lives in the school setting, daily demands and expectations in the school environment are central to their stress concerns. During adolescence most students change schools from elementary to middle school and middle to high school.

This transition can be stressful to a young adult (Arnold, 1990). Many students report feeling academic pressure to succeed from parents, teachers, and society as well as competition to set themselves apart from other students (Hains & Szyjakowski, 1990). Wilburn & Smith (2005) found that “academically successful students experience greater amounts of stress than do their less successful peers because more successful students feel more pressure to maintain their level of performance” (p. 5). Many students also report high levels of test anxiety especially on examinations that will help decide their future such as the SATS (Keogh, & Bond et al.

, 2006). Fiske (1988) noted that American schools have gone “test crazy” with the emphasis placed on state tests, resulting in increased stress for students. In addition, as they move up in grade level, adolescents begin to worry about college, future goals and careers (de Anda, 1998). Elkind The effects of 17 2001) describes a phenomena known as “school burnout” in which the chronic stresses of school become too much to bear for adolescents, often resulting in dropping out of school or turning to drugs or alcohol for relief (p. 192).

Societal stresses Today? s adolescents also face societal stresses unlike any other generation. Schmitz & Hipp (1995) noted that some adolescent psychologists such as David Elkind believe that youth today live in a culture that no longer promotes a safe transition for adolescents into adulthood.Increased numbers of children are now living with divorced or separated parents or in single parent homes (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995). Some literature has focused on the loss of neighborhood and community support, which has occurred in recent years, causing adolescents to have less of a support network to rely on. Today? s teens are also faced with growing up in a changing economy and with many unrestricted freedoms and choices (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995). More than ever teens are exposed to choices regarding sex, drugs and to violence openly portrayed in the media.

Lastly, the societal issues of racism, sexism, classism, and pressure to succeed are still active for today? s youth (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995). Positive Stressors While most of the research focuses on negative experiences that cause stress, there has been some work done on stress that occurs due to positive experiences (Santrock, 1990). Selye (1983) described this type of stress as „eustress?. Examples include being chosen captain of a team, transitioning from elementary to middle school, making the honor roll, performing in a school play or musical concert, or competing in state athletic championships.Although all of these situations are viewed as positive life events, they can also cause significant levels of stress for adolescents (Santrock, 1990).

The effects of 18 Compound Stressors Santrock (1990) reported that when adolescents face more than one stressor at a time, the effects can become compounded. For example, Rutter (1979) reported that adolescents who were dealing with more than one chronic life stressor at a time were four times more likely to need psychological services that those who were coping with one stressor.Gender Differences Gender differences become more apparent in the adolescent years and have an effect on stress and coping (Santrock, 1990). Maccoby & Jacklin (1974) reported that adolescent boys had better math skills, visual-spatial ability, and are more aggressive than girls.

Girls showed better verbal and communication skills. However, Santrock (1990) reported that this gender gap is shortening in recent years with boys scoring just as well as girls on the verbal portion of the SATs.Gender differences in individuals arise from many different sources (Santrock, 1990). Some gender differences are inborn. For example, Santrock (1990) reported that as early as 18 months of age children begin to express interest in gender role activities and classify themselves according to gender. Gender differences also result from gender stereotypes that exist in our culture that reflect our beliefs about appropriate gender roles (Santrock, 1990).

Social influences and expectations also influence gender differences (Santrock, 1990).Parents influence these expectations at an early age by socializing their children in different ways, such as buying girls dolls to be more nurturing and boys action figures for more aggressive behaviors (Santrock, 1990). Also, children learn from their parents, and mothers and fathers often play different roles in the family that foster these differences as well. Peers also influence gender roles in that peer relationships reward gender-appropriate behavior and peer demands to conform to gender become especially intense during adolescent years (Santrock, 1990). Additionally, the mediaThe effects of 19 plays an important role in influencing gender roles in that television, movies and video games continue to foster gender role differences (Santrock, 1990). Gender Differences in Stress and Coping Stress Research has noted gender differences in stress and coping. There have been differences found in boys? and girls? perceptions of stress, frequency of stressful events, and coping styles used to combat stressful situations (Frydenberg, 1997).

There are differences in the types of stressors that boys and girls report as causing them the most distress.Girls often cite interpersonal, social, relationship, and family stressors as most problematic, while boys report more school related stressors (Sullivan, 2003). Frydenberg (1997) reported that “not only are adolescent girls concerned about more things than boys but girls report experiencing more stressful events and they are more affected by stressful events than are boys”(p. 13). Jose and Ratcliffe (2004) stated that “girls reported significantly more stressful events from age 12 to 17 than boys and girls showed higher levels of internalizing from age 13” (p. 45). It remains unclear to researchers if the reasons for these differences are that girls indeed face more stressful challenges in their lives or rather they perceive or appraise them differently than boys (Jose & Ratcliffe, 2004).

Jose & Ratcliffe (2004) argued that the a possible reason for this gender discrepancy is that girls are more “responsive and reactive to a stressful event” which leads to the notion that it is not the stressor itself that has a more negative effect on girls but it is rather that girls? oping mechanisms for dealing with stress are different (p. 145). Coping There have been gender differences reported in coping. Frydenberg (1997) noted that “gender is consistently the clearest predictor of coping” (p. 85) and described how boys use more The effects of 20 problem-focused and action oriented ways of coping and more denial and suppression of problems than girls. Frydenberg (1997) also reported that girls assess stressful situations as “four times more threatening than do boys” (p. 9) and that girls cope with stress more emotionally, use more wishful thinking, and more often seek social support than boys (Frydenberg, 1997 p.

91). Schmitz & Hipp (1995) discussed differences in the resources that boys and girls have to deal with stress in terms of developmental assets and deficits. Developmental assets are those resources that a person has personally or in their environment to deal with the stress. Developmental deficits are the absence of such assets or opportunities to help combat stress.Several researchers have focused on the differences in assets and deficits in coping across gender (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995). Frydenberg & Lewis, (1997) suggested that boys and girls develop differently in their patterns of coping with age and therefore the timing of teaching these skills to boys and girls may vary and is important for counselors to consider. Explanations for Gender Difference Some researchers have suggested reasons for this gender difference in stress and coping, which include gender socializations, gender role orientation, and stereotypes.

Frydenberg, (1997) noted that boys and girls have been socialized into different gender oriented expectations around what are acceptable forms of coping. From young ages boys are socialized toward more independent action while girls are socialized toward more interpersonal behaviors. Gender differences are evident in the types of stressful events that girls and boys report as most frequent. Girls identify more interpersonal issues with friends while boys report more physical fights, threats, and school problems (Washburn-Ormachea & Hillman et al. , 2004).WashburnOrmachea & Hillman et al. (2004) reported that girls might perceive interpersonal events more stressful than boys because their identity is more associated with their interpersonal The effects of 21 relationships. Girls also report parent-child conflict as forms of stress more than do boys (Washburn- Ormachea, & Hillman et al.

, 2004). Rudloph & Hammen (1999) noted that this difference stems from the fact that girls seek more emotional autonomy from parents, which clashes with the societal norms whereby parents tend to give more autonomy to boys.Van Hook (1990) suggested that adolescent females report more stress related to the family because girls have been socialized to take on more familial responsibility and show more concern for their families.

Lastly, it is important to note that girls may report stress and seek help for stress related problems more than boys because they have been socialized and encouraged to express their emotions and feelings more than boys (Washburn- Ormachea, & Hillman et al. , 2004).These gender differences in stress and coping demonstrate the need for counselor to “be conscious of the differential ways in which stress management and coping programs might benefit boys and girls and the need to adapt both the content and the process of their particular needs” (Frydenberg & Lewis et al.

, 2004 p. 34). Need for counseling The literature on the causes and effects of stress on adolescents is overwhelming. Although there are differing perspectives on the ways adolescents cope, and the apparent gender differences, most agree on the importance of counseling programs surrounding this issue (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995).Santrock (1990) emphasized coping as an important area for counselors to explore in working with stress in adolescence.

As noted previously many adolescents feel that their coping strategies in dealing with stress are ineffective (de Anda, 1998). De Anda (1998) hypothesized that this was due to the fact that most adolescents are not taught stress management and effective coping strategies and therefore rely on trial and error. Therefore, it is important for counselors to provide adolescents instruction in specific coping and stress managementThe effects of 22 techniques to promote their well-being and avoid distress (de Anda, 1998). Hains, (1994) suggested “the acquisition of coping strategies by adolescents seems to be critical to their efforts to manage stress” (p. 114). Frydenberg & Lewis (2004) added that it is important not only to teach productive coping skills to adolescents but also to “focus on the reduction of the use of non productive coping skills” which adolescents are relying on” (p. 34).

There has been little attention given to prevention programs with adolescents to prevent stress-related problems before they arise (Hains, 1992). Most previous programs have focused on specific stress related issues like phobias or illness, rather than the wider range of issues adolescents face (Hains & Szyjakowski, 1990). Hains (1992) noted that intervention programs to help students cope with multiple pressures have not been developed or tested. Such deficits in research demonstrate the importance for the current study.

Managing Stress In SchoolsSchools and school counselors are logical settings and agents to provide students with stress intervention and prevention counseling because of their relationship and daily contact with students (Hains, 1994). The school setting is also logical to provide counseling services in that adolescents spend the majority of their time, aside from with their family, in school, interacting with teachers, counselors and other students (Fydenberg & Lewis, et al, 2004). Furthermore, the school environment itself is often considered a source of adolescent stress and anxiety (Kiselica & Baker, 1994).Johnson (1979) reported that 10% to 30% of students experience “school related anxiety severe enough to interfere with performance”.

School counselors have the advantage of being within the system in which stress often arises and have the opportunity to observe students within their main ecological system (Davis & Kruczek et al. , 2006). Additionally, school counselors have the advantage of being able to intervene in that system The effects of 23 when necessary (Davis, & Kruczek, et al. , 2006).Furthermore, difficulty coping with stress has been linked to decreased academic achievement, so providing counseling in the schools is very relevant to its academic mission (de Anda, 1998). Many schools are seeking programs and ways of enhancing resiliency and academic success in their students and implementing stress and coping programs meets this need and is of utmost importance (Frydenberg & Lewis, et al, 2004). Plunkett & Radmacher, et al. (2000) made several suggestions for counselors implementing stress management and coping programs in their schools.

These include conducting an assessment of the life events occurring in their school to get a better understanding of the specific stresses the population is facing at that time and routinely examining the coping strategies used by the students in order to determine where intervention is most needed. The Benefits of Group Counseling Research has shown group counseling in schools to be a time effective way of reaching a greater number of needy students and serves as a manageable way for counselors to bring together students dealing with similar problems (Zinck & Littrell, 2000).Sells and Hays (1997) suggested that group counseling was a way for counselors to serve a larger number of students in a school setting and Borders and Drury (1992) added that this practice is both cost effective and developmentally appropriate. Coppock and Dwivedi (1993) noted that “group work in the school setting offers the opportunity for the work to be carried out in an environment which is often more acceptable to both parents and pupils alike” (p. 278). Studies have shown “a significant reduction of problem severity” with students participating in counseling groups (Zinck & Littrell, 2000).

There are many reasons why group counseling can be a beneficial method of counseling. Groups “can provide support, facilitate learning, help ease internal and external pressures, and The effects of 24 offer hope and models for change” (Gladding, 1999 p. 265). Also, many times members learn more from listening to each other than from talking. Borders and Drury (1992) also cited research validating the positive effects of group counseling on behavior, self concept, attendance, and attitudes toward self and others.

The Benefits of Group Counseling with AdolescentsGroup counseling can be especially beneficial for adolescents because “the adolescent peer group serves a crucial role in the developmental tasks of this age group (Arronson, 2004 p. 174). The group context provides adolescents a safe environment to express themselves, be heard, experiment with new skills and practice them with their peers and with adults. In a group format adolescents can also practice their interpersonal skills, gain a sense of identity and intimacy with other members and attain greater self-awareness through peer interactions (Gladding, 1999 p.

66). Adolescents may talk more freely with other adolescents in a group than one on one with an adult (Jacobs, Masson, & Harvill, 1998). Finding acceptance and encouragement from group members and adult leaders can be great agents to facilitate change (Gladding, 1999 p. 266).

As one researcher notes, “Deep lasting changes, individually and structurally, must ultimately come from sharing with like individuals” (Egbochiuku & Obiunu, 2006 p. 504).In a group format many students feel a sense of universality or “we are all going through this together” which can serve as a source of comfort when sharing with students who have similar experiences (Arronson, 2004 p. 174). Adolescence is often a time of self-doubt and conflicting feelings and being able to share these issues with peers can be therapeutic (Lasell & Russell, 1993). Bringman & Earkey (1991) reported that “not only is anxiety reduced when students learn they are not alone with their concerns, but a sense of belonging and support can replace feelings of loneliness, isolation, and helplessness” (p. ).

A study by Kingery & Roblek, et al. (2006) found The effects of 25 that incorporating peers and activities into counseling, “makes skills learned in therapy more meaningful and generalizable to older children and adolescents” (p. 265). Gladding (1999) listed several advantages for using group counseling with adolescents. First, groups are a part of their “natural” environment since they spend so much time in groups in their everyday lives; the group situation feels comfortable to them.Second, groups are a great mechanism to teach life skills through modeling and role-playing. Barrett (1998) noted that group counseling is an excellent means to promote healthy behaviors through modeling by the leader and other group members. Third, the sense of belonging that is created in groups allows adolescents to learn skills through interactions in the group and to then carry them over to the broader social context.

Fourth, groups provide adolescents with quick and helpful feedback as to how their peers see them.Last, groups allow members to have the opportunity to help one another, which in turn, can lead to enhanced self-esteem and confidence (Gladding, 1999 p. 283). Rationale for the Present Study Although group therapy has been proven effective for certain adolescent issues such as abusive dating relationships, sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, learning disabilities, communication problems, and developmental concerns, research is lacking on its effects in reducing overall stress in adolescents (Zinck & Littrell, 2000). There have been a few studies done on group counseling and stress.Zinck and Littrell (2000) noted one study by Whiston and Sexton in 1998 found group counseling to be effective in managing stress in young people.

Another study by de Anda (1998) found a stress management program for middle school students effective in promoting academic performance. However, Kessler & Edelman, et al. (2000) noted “the effects of stress and stress reduction techniques have been studied much more with adults than they have been studied in children and adolescents. ” Therefore, one can see the absence of substantial The effects of 26 information and the need for further research in this area.One researcher noted, “given multiple changes and challenges encountered by young adolescents, their limited range of available coping strategies, and their potential to develop emotional and behavioral problems, early adolescence is an important period to study the coping process” (Washburn- Ormachea, & Hillman, et. al, 2004 p. 31). For this reason this study focuses on ten and eleven year old students as an early intervention.

There has been research done on certain theoretically based interventions used to teach stress and anxiety reduction (Kingery & Robleck et al, 2006).Kessler & Edelman et al. (2000) indicate that interventions attempted with children and adults include “cognitive-behavioral therapies, relaxation training, meditation, hypnosis, biofeedback, and psychopharmacology” (p. 152). However, this study seeks to teach adolescents an eclectic approach involving various stress management and coping techniques. The book A Leader’s Guide to Fighting Invisible Tigers (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995) from which the counseling sessions in this study were taken, describes this eclectic approach as “life skills” training.

Schmitz & Hipp defines „life skills? as “an assortment of stress-reducing, life-enhancing strategies that keep people feeling emotionally and physically balanced” (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995 p. 16). This approach is interdisciplinary and touches on diverse theories from fields such as counseling, educational psychology, medicine, relaxation and human development. The book uses the metaphor of “fighting invisible tigers” as teaching adolescents to cope with the stresses in their lives.

The author reminds counselors using this approach that of course it won? prevent all of the stresses adolescents face but teaching students “life skills” may make it easier for teens to cope. “Just helping them become aware of the stressors in their lives, and providing them with a setting where it is okay to talk about stress The effects of 27 and talk about their ways to „get it together? may be the biggest gifts you can give them” (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995 p. 2). Summary From the literature reviewed one can see that stress is a significant problem in the life of adolescents.

Therefore, the need for counselors to implement stress management and coping programs for adolescents is evident.The literature points out gender differences in stress and coping, which will also be explored in this research study. Research has identified the benefits of group counseling for adolescents but more information is needed. This study focuses on an eclectic approach in providing „life skills? training to young adults in a group format. This research is needed because of the lack of data on the effects of stress management with young adolescents, with an eclectic approach, and using group counseling as the means to deliver this training. Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of this project is to determine whether or not psycho-educational group counseling relieves stress among adolescents with these symptoms.

This study will also examine whether the effects of the group intervention differ among boys and girls and gender differences in stress symptoms and causes of stress. This research is important because stress and anxiety affect the lives of many students and can have strong influences on students psychologically, emotionally, physically and academically. It is important for counselors to learn how they can better help students and to assess the effectiveness of their work.Group counseling is often a preference in schools because this approach can reach more students and is time effective. For this project the purposes of group involvement are to identify stressors that cause stress and anxiety, provide a forum for the discussion of these issues, and to teach students how to manage The effects of 28 their anxiety. It is the hope that through the group experience, students will gain an increased awareness of the stresses in their lives and increased coping skills. Method Setting The participants in this project were students at a working class middle school in upstate New York.The district as a whole has 4,989 students enrolled.

The district reports a poverty rate of 29%. There are 1,251 students enrolled at the middle school. The middle school is made up of 52% males and 48% females. The ethnicity breakdown at the middle school is 77% white, 15.

6% Black or African American, 3. 8 % Hispanic or Latino, 3. 4 % Asian, and 0. 2% American Indian or Alaskan Native. Participants The project involved two groups of seven white 6th grade students (10-11 years old).

One group consisted of only boys and the other group of only girls.The participants were selected for the group by parent and teacher recommendations that the students may benefit from participation in a group on stress and anxiety. Participation in the group was voluntary. Students did not receive any fees, extra credit or any other rewards for participation. Materials Participants were given a pre-test to measure stress and anxiety symptoms prior to participation in the group and the same instrument as a post-test at the conclusion of the group work.

The test is entitled University of Minnesota Adolescent Health Program: Measuring Emotional Stress (from Blum & Resnick, 1986).The test is used with permission in A Leader’s Guide to Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens by Schmitz and Hipp (1995). (See Appendix A) The effects of 29 During one session, the group members were also given the Teen Inventory on Common Stressors and Stress Symptoms (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995) to measure their stress symptoms and most prevalent stressors in their lives. (See Appendix B) The ten group sessions were modified from the program outlined in the book Revised & Updated Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens devised by Schmitz and Hipp (1995).The student researcher condensed the main topics of the twelve outlined sessions into ten sessions and utilized them as a guide for the group work with the students. Worksheets and activities in the book were also used to teach students to recognize and deal with stress and anxiety. Procedure Each group participated in ten weeks of group sessions that were 40 minutes in length and took place once a week. Participants were be given the pre-test in the first group session and the post-test at the conclusion of the group work.

The ten sessions were guided by the manual (Revised & Updated Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens Schmitz and Hipp, 1995) and tailored based on the flow of the sessions. The ten sessions were organized as follows: Session 1: The main objective of this session was for students to learn about the purpose and function of the group and to complete the pre-test. o Conducted a “get to know each other” activity (“icebreaker”) o Went over group rules o Explained the purpose of the group o Obtained Consent forms (See Appendix G and H) The effects of 30 Administered Pre-test (Appendix A) Session 2: (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995, p. 28-29): The main goals of this session were for students to recognize what stress is, what if feels like, and how it affects their lives o Recognizing Stress: What is stress? o How stress affects our lives and why it is important to alleviate it o What does stress feel like physically? o Remembering a time when you felt stressed Session 3:(Schmitz & Hipp, 1995, p. 30- 35): In this session students compared the feelings of deep relaxation with those of stress. o Difference between stress and relaxation What is relaxation? What does it feel like? o Relaxation activity- Progressive Relaxation Script # 2 (Appendix C) o Feedback: how it feels to be relaxed as opposed to stressed? o How do you relax in your day? How can you make time for it? Session 4: (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995, p.

36-42): The main objective of this session was for students to understand the origins of stress, and how it affects the body (physically and emotionally). Students also learned about how and why we perceive certain situations and events as stressful. o Understanding where stress/anxiety comes from Define stressor and stress reaction o Understanding how stress/ anxiety can affect academic performance, relationships, health o Difference between good stress and bad stress- give examples The effects of 31 o Understanding the physical and emotional manifestations of stress/anxiety o Discuss important factors in whether we perceive an event as stressful o Discuss the difference between Foreseeable/Avoidable, Unforeseeable/Unavoidable and Foreseeable/Unavoidable- Three Types of Stress Situations (Appendix D) Session 5: (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995, p. 44):The purpose of this session was to relate common teen stressors and symptoms to their own situations. o Take “Teen Inventory on Common Stressors and Stress Symptoms” (Schmitz, 1995) (Appendix B) o Evaluate and discuss stress symptoms and stressors in their lives from the Inventory Session 6: (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995, p. 45-57): The topic of this discussion was coping and coping strategies. Students learned effective coping strategies.

Another goal was to determine when stress levels get too high and outside help is needed. o Discussion of positive and negative coping strategies Evaluation of their own coping strategies o Identification of stress/anxiety levels in which immediate help is needed o Discuss knowledge and skills in how to help other teens in crisis o Discuss “triggers” in their own lives in which they may need “outside” help Session 7: (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995, p. 60-74): The purpose of this session was to understand how the mind can influence the stress a body feels and how one can increase awareness. The session also focused on relaxation techniques and physical activities to relieve stress. The effects of 32 Begin teaching life-skills: how mind influences, slow time down and increase awareness of present- Centering the Mind Activity- (Appendix E) o Work on relaxation techniques (meditation and breathing) (Appendix F) o Discuss physical activities that can reduce stress o Group physical activity (playing drums, game) Session 8 (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995, p.

75-98): In this session participants learned the effects of communication styles on relationships and how they affect stress and friendship levels. o Discuss communication and response styles o Identify benefits of being assertive Discuss how relationships affect stress and anxiety, friendships and trust levels o Discuss characteristics of supportive friends Session 9: (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995, p. 110-112, 99-109): The purpose of this session was to introduce the idea of „self talk?. Participants identified some of the personal barriers they face in developing life-skills and worked on positive messages they can give themselves to work through these challenges. Students also examined the decisions and stresses that they may encounter in their future and how they will work through them with the tools they have learned in the group. Positive Self Talk o Planning for the future o Planning for change- discuss resources and constraints Session 10: The effects of 33 The purpose of this session was to illicit feedback from group members on the group experience, close the group and administer the post-test.

o Discussion of what they have learned from the group o Administer post-test (Appendix A) Evaluations and Scoring The pre-test and post-test used was the University of Minnesota Adolescent Health Program: Measuring Emotional Stress (from Blum & Resnick, 1986).The emotional stress section was a sub-section of the University of Minnesota Adolescent Health Survey conducted by the National Adolescent Health Resource Center in 1987. This survey was designed to measure youth health and risk behaviors in a variety of topics. The study population consisted of 30,000 Minnesota public school students in grades 7 though 12. The emotional stress section of this survey has very high reliability (Cronbach? s alpha coefficients of . 87 for 7th grade males and . 90 for 7th grade females).

In scoring this instrument, the manual reports that scores of 0-21 are viewed as low stress, scores of 22-32 are viewed as moderate stress, and scores 33-74 are viewed as high stress (Blum & Resnick, 1986). Results The results are divided into three parts. First, the author will present the results of the Teen Inventory on Common Stressors and Stress Symptoms (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995) that participants completed at the beginning of the project in order to gain a better understanding of the stress symptoms and life stressors adolescents? face.Results from the Stress Symptoms part of the inventory will be discussed, followed by results of the Stress portion of the inventory. Next, in order to see the results of the group intervention the author will present the results of the pre and The effects of 34 post-test measure, The University of Minnesota Adolescent Health Program: Measuring Emotional Stress (Blum & Resnick, 1986). Table 1: Teen Inventory on Common Stressors and Stress Symptoms (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995) Stress Symptoms The degree to which students have experienced the following symptoms of stre ss in the previous month Symptom Males n=6 Females n=8 . ) Chronic dissatisfaction 2.

) Loss of interest or pleasure 3. ) Excessive sleeping or sleeplessness 4. ) Always irritable, angry over small things 5. ) Reject positive comments or support from others 6. ) Difficulty concentrating 7.

) Major change in academic performance 8. ) Significant change in eating habits 9. ) Ongoing, recurrent worries 0. 67 1. 33 2. 33 2.

13 1. 25 1. 88 1. 67 1. 75 0. 33 1. 50 1. 67 2.

17 1. 38 0. 88 1. 50 1. 75 1. 00 1. 75 10).

Nightmares or disturbing dreams 11. ) Increase in number of mishaps, accidents 12. ) Obsessive- compulsive about routine, time, grades, etc. 13. ) Jittery, hyper .

17 1. 25 1. 50 1. 00 1.

33 1. 50 1. 83 1. 63 14. ) Withdrawal, aversion 0.

50 1. 13 15. ) Recurrent physical ailments (headaches, colds, etc) 0. 83 1.

13 1. 31 19. 50 1. 46 21. 88 Total Stress Symptoms Total Symptom Score Means (45 is maximum score) As shown in Table 1, the results show significant differences in the specific stress symptoms reported by the males and females. Females showed significantly higher (more than 0.

5 The effects of 35 difference) symptoms of chronic dissatisfaction, rejecting positive comments or support from others, recurrent worries, withdrawal or aversion, and physical ailments.The males, on the other hand, reported significantly higher symptoms of excessive sleeping or sleeplessness, major change in academic performance, and an increase in the number of mishaps or accidents. The most prevalent symptom of stress reported for females was chronic dissatisfaction (2. 13) and for males it was excessive sleeping and sleeplessness (2. 33). There was no major difference in the total amount of stress symptoms reported by the two genders. Table 2: Teen Inventory on Common Stressors and Stress Symptoms (Schmitz & Hipp, 1995) Stressors Experienced this stressor in the last year Boys n=6Girls n =8 1. Argument with parent(s) or other adult at home 0.

50 0. 75 2. Conflicts with brother(s) or sister(s) Significant change in family, such as: 3. Separation or divorce of parents 4. Blending two families (moving in with step-siblings) 5.

Remarriage of a parent 6. Parent changes jobs 7. At-home parent gets a full-time job outside of the home 8. Move to a new house or apartment 9.

Home remodeling- invasion of your “space” 1. Alcohol or drug abuse by a family member 11. Physical or sexual abuse by a family member of a sibling or other 12. Physical or sexual abuse a family member of your self 13.Parent or family member becomes seriously ill 14.

Parent or family member dies 15. A pet dies 0. 83 0. 75 0.

67 0. 00 0. 16 0. 50 0. 50 0. 16 0.

16 0. 16 0. 00 0. 00 0. 83 0. 50 0.

33 .353 0. 13 0. 00 0. 00 0. 50 0. 25 0. 25 0.

38 0. 13 0. 13 0.

13 0. 50 0. 38 0. 50 .

319 0. 83 0. 67 0. 17 0. 17 0.

00 0. 00 0. 33 0. 00 0. 50 0. 88 0. 13 0. 38 0. 13 0. 00 0. 25 0. 00 Common Teen Stressor Stressors At Home Section Mean Stressors at School 1. Did less well in school (academically) than expected or desired 2. Underwent psychological or educational testing 3. Placed in special class (gifted, remedial, other) 4.Had confrontation with teacher, coach, or administrative staff 5. Was tardy for three or more classes 6. Was expelled from class 7. Received a detention 8. Received probation for academic or behavioral problems The effects of 9. Felt frustrated when learning 10. Was singled out for an award or recognition 11. Was elected for am honored position (captain, editor) 12. Was accepted or promoted to an athletic team 13. Was eliminated from or demoted on an athletic team 14. Incidents of school vandalism occurred at your school 15. Incidents of youth violence occurred at school or neighborhood 16. Other disruptions in school (e. g. eacher strike, resignation of principal, change in class size, school ) Section Mean 0. 67 0. 17 0. 33 0. 33 0. 00 0. 67 0. 67 0. 50 0. 75 0. 38 0. 13 0. 25 0. 00 0. 88 0. 63 0. 50 .344 .362 0. 83 0. 67 0. 83 0. 50 0. 50 0. 33 0. 33 0. 00 0. 50 0. 50 0. 00 0. 00 .416 0. 25 0. 63 0. 50 0. 13 0. 13 0. 38 0. 00 0. 25 0. 38 0. 13 0. 00 0. 00 .232 0. 67 0. 67 0. 50 0. 50 0. 33 0. 17 0. 33 0. 00 0. 17 0. 00 0. 00 0. 17 0. 17 .283 0. 63 0. 75 0. 38 0. 75 1. 00 0. 00 0. 13 0. 00 0. 25 0. 00 0. 00 0. 25 0. 13 .329 0. 50 0. 50 0. 33 0. 33 0. 67 0. 67 0. 33 0. 33 0. 33 .443 0. 88 0. 38 0. 13 0. 63 0. 75 0. 50 0. 38 0. 50 0. 25 .489Stressors with Peers 1. Fell in love with someone new 2. Lost a significant friend due to relocation or separation 3. Felt your trust or confidence was betrayed by a significant friend 4. Became disillusioned with a previous girlfriend or boyfriend 5. Was “dropped” by a boyfriend or girlfriend you really care for 6. No longer feel part of the same old crowd 7. Don? t have a group that you feel comfortable hanging out with 8. Excluded from groups that you? d like to be a part of 9. Feel less adequate, compared to your friends 10. Feel your friends make too many demands of you 11. Engaged in unprotected sex with a partner 2. Became pregnant, or impregnated with a partner Section Mean Stressors with Self 1. Concerned about your weight, height, physical development 2. Concerned about clothes, other material things 3. Change in employment or income status 4. Wondered what you are “good at” 5. Questioned what your future will be 6. Passed (or failed) your drivers test 7. Went through a bar/bat mitzvah training or religious confirmation 8. Received acceptance (or rejection) from college 9. Conflict over major decisions involving values, life choices 10. Used alcohol or drugs 11. Dealing with issues of homosexuality and self 12.Dealing with chronic illness or disability 13. Considered leaving home, moving out on your own Section Mean Stressors Related to Life 1. Questioned whether God exists, what religion means to you 2. Felt injustice in your immediate world (e. g. racism, sexism) 3. Felt environmental threats in your immediate world 4. Loss of influential adult in your life (other than parent) 5. Negative images in the media (violence, sexuality, stereotyping, etc. ) 6. Lack of challenge in life: not much to do, not many places to go 7. Lack of community: disconnectedness in neighborhood, school 8. Lack of economic opportunity, money . Overwhelming sense of authority, structure, conformity, no options Section Mean Grand Mean . 443 .489 36 The effects of 37 Overall, as shown in Table 3, the results did not show a major gender difference in the amount of “stressors” adolescents? face, with males reporting stressor levels at a mean of . 443 and females at a mean of . 489. There were similarities in the types of stressors that males and females report as most stressful. Both boys and girls reported Stressors Related to Life as their biggest concern (. 443 for males, and . 489 for females). However, males ranked Stressors with Peers second (. 16), followed by Stressors At Home (. 353), Stressors Related to School (. 344), and Stressors With Self (. 283) while females reported Stressors At School as second (. 362), followed by Stressors with Self (. 329), Stressors at Home(. 319), and Stressors with Peers (. 232). Within the subsections, males reported significantly higher levels of stress from a parental divorce than females, as well as a parent or family member becoming seriously ill, and doing less well in school than expected or desired. Males also reported greater stress from falling in love with someone new, and feeling their friends make too many demands on them.Females, on the other hand, reported higher levels of stress from being excluded from groups they would like to be a part of, questioning what their future will be, questioning whether God exists and what religion means to them, and losing an influential adult in their lives (other than a parent). Table 3: University of Minnesota Adolescent Health Program: Measuring Emotional Stress (Blum & Resnick, 1986) 1. How have you been feeling in general during the past month? 2. Have you been bothered by nervousness or your “nerves” (during the past month)? 3. Have you felt in control of your behavior, thoughts, emotions, or eelings (during the past month)? 4. Have you felt so sad, discouraged, hopeless, or had so many problems that Males (n=6) Pretest Post? test 1. 67 1. 17 -0. 50 Females(n=8) Pretest Post? test 1. 75 1. 50 -0. 25 2. 00 1. 33 -0. 67 2. 00 1. 63 0. 67 0. 67 0. 00 1. 25 0. 63 -0. 62 0. 50 1. 33 +0. 83 1. 63 1. 00 -0. 63 -0. 37 The effects of you wondered if anything was worth while anymore in the past month? 5. Have you felt you were under any strain, stress, or pressure (during the past month)? 6. How happy or satisfied or pleased have you been with your personal life (in the past month)? 7. Have you worried you might be osing your mind or losing control over the way you act, talk, think, feel, or of your memory (during the past month)? 8. Have you been waking up fresh and rested (during the past month)? 9. Have you been bothered by any illness, body disorder, pains, or fears about your health (during the past month)? 10. Has your daily life been full of things that were interesting to you (during the past month)? 11. Have you felt sad (during the past month)? 12. Have you been feeling emotionally secure and sure of yourself (during the past month)? 13. Have you felt anxious, worried, or upset (during the past month)? 14. Have you felt tired, worn out, urned out, or exhausted (during the past month)? 15. How relaxed or tense have you felt (during the past month)? 16. How much energy, pep, vitality have you felt (during the past month)? 17. How depressed or cheerful have you been (during the past month)? 1. 67 1. 33 -0. 34 2. 00 1. 00 -1. 00 1. 50 1. 33 -0. 17 1. 38 1. 25 -0. 13 1. 00 1. 00 0. 00 0. 88 0. 75 -0. 13 1. 67 1. 17 -0. 50 1. 88 1. 75 -0. 13 -0. 50 1. 25 0. 50 38 -0. 75 0. 67 0. 17 1. 33 1. 50 +0. 17 1. 38 1. 38 0. 00 1. 17 1. 33 +0. 16 1. 50 1. 13 -0. 37 1. 17 1. 00 -0. 17 1. 50 1. 13 -0. 37 1. 83 1. 50 -0. 33 1. 88 1. 25 -0. 63 2. 17 1. 33 -0. 84 1. 75 1. 38 -0. 37 2. 83

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