What is making “Generation Z” stressed?

Worries about current events weigh on the minds of young people.

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What is making “Generation Z” stressed?

Preet Christian, Freelance Writer

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(This story was originally published in print on Nov. 29, 2018)

(Editor’s note: The author is a Resident Advisor in Hope South.)

A recent Biola report shows that students, like many other young people, are experiencing stress due to academics, but also that problems with relationships may affect them more than other college students.    

As the most rapidly growing generation with 23 million and counting,Generation Z, defined by the American Psychological Association as Americans between the ages of 15 and 21, is feeling the effects of many different societal issues. Generation Z’s stress level is very high compared to that of previous generations, according to the APA. The APA believes, most people in this category have different stressors, but the primary factors stem from current events and news topics, especially mass shootings. Different departments on campus have done surveys and determined that Biola students also face many of these stressors.

BIOLA STUDENT STRESSORS

According to dean of Student Wellness Lisa Igram, over 1,000 Biola undergraduate students took the National College Health Assessment with 51 percent Biola students reporting academics are traumatic or very difficult to handle, and 37 percent reporting similar experiences with family relationships.

“It is interesting to me that relational problems, whether family or friends, cause Biola students more stress than the average college student in the United States. Biola students care about relationships, and struggles in relationships can hit our students hard,” Igram said.

There are many resources on campus to help students who are dealing with stress or any other mental health needs, according to Igram. Along with these resources, Igram says that many campus ministries and departments are opening up their doors for students to slow down and process their stress.

Student Development recently restructured, in part to create a new ‘Student Wellness’ area tasked to continue finding ways to embed preventative and proactive wellness strategies into our campus culture,” Igram said.

Hope Hall South’s Residence Life staff also conducted a survey of their own in early November in which they had students from the dorm come and put a sticky note on a graph to indicate which categories cause them the most stress. The categories included work, the past, homework and lack of sleep.

“I think the graph ultimately succeeded in creating a reflective visual for Hope South residents,” said Hope South Resident Advisor Camille Agers. “This graph was a simple way of helping students think more intentionally about what stresses them out. Simply acknowledging these things in our lives is a really important part of self-awareness and helped residents take inventory of their own stress.”

Freshman biology major Josh Stanley also participated in the survey and considered what makes him stressed.

“Pressures of success is a main stressor for me, as well as in my past it was moving states and making new friends,” Stanley said.

COMMON STRESSORS   

Recent events have also affected young people’s mental wellness.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the “threat and emotional toll of mass shootings are the most common source of stress among the members of Generation Z.”  

Results extracted from a recent survey by the APA of 3,400 adults as well as interviews with 300 individuals aged 15 -17 between the months of July and August concluded that 57 percent of Gen Zers felt stressed about separation and deportation of migrant families. Another source of stress among Gen Zers is sexual harassment and assault, issues with which more than half of the respondents identified.

APA CEO Arthur Evans stated in the U.S. News report, “Current events are clearly stressful for everyone in the country, but young people are really feeling the impact of issues in the news.”

STRESS MANAGEMENT

The APA gives several tips on how to manage stress, including understanding how one experiences stress, identifying the sources of stress, learning one’s own stress signals and recognizing how one should deal with stress.

“Student wellness matters, because we want students to foster the kind of learning and curiosity that will help them step into the gifts and calling God has for them to impact the world for his kingdom,” Igram said. “It’s challenging to do this when stress and anxiety loom large.”

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