Causes of Stress for Teens

The demands of the teenage years can help a young person learn how to perform under pressure, according to TeensHealth website 1. Stress can help teens build resilience in the face of change, setbacks and challenges. In the article “Helping Teenagers with Stress,” the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends that parents monitor a teen’s stress levels and intervene if they negatively affect the young person’s feelings, thoughts, health or behavior.


Academic pressures are a major source of stress for teens, according to the 2007 NBC News article, “Academic Performance Top Cause of Teen Stress.” In addition to fulfilling her own academic dreams, meeting a parent’s academic expectations can feel like a big weight to carry for a teen 2. This is particularly true for those who do poorly in school or try to balance school work with extracurricular activities, spending time with friends and chores with little downtime.

Family Life

A teen is directly impacted by the issues that affect his family. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry shares that arguments between parents, a strained relationship with parents or siblings, a sick or injured family member and a change in a family’s financial status are common stressors in a teen’s life. Even if a teen isn’t the cause of a family’s hardship, like financial difficulties or a divorce, the events still affect his life.

Social Life

During the teen years, young people begin to focus more on their friends and social connections because of the emotional, cognitive and social development that occurs. According to the Johns Hopkins University publication, “The Teen Years Explained: A Guide to Healthy Adolescent Development,” by Clea McNeely and Jayne Blanchard, a young person gains an increased social awareness and starts to care more about how others feel and view her as she develops 3. In addition to a teen’s romantic life or the desire for one, helping a friend with problems, bullying and peer pressure can add stress to a young person’s life.


Teens do well with routines because it gives them a sense of structure, and a sudden upset in routine can cause stress in some young people. Changes in routine can include moving to a new home, attending a new school, a change in family dynamics, dealing with an illness or injury, a disaster or experiencing a loss. Losses can range from the death of a loved one to the end of a friendship.