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Skipper L Harvey, PsyD
September 7, 2014

Teen Stress And Management Strategies

Teen stress is on the rise as adolescents are faced with an increasing number of challenges such as relationships with peers, new demands at school, developmental challenges, family issues, and social media to name a few.

The coping styles, or lack of, that teens use to manage these stressors can have significant short-term and long-term consequences on their physical and emotional health. Stress is how an adolescent’s body reacts to a challenge and it does this by triggering the nervous system and specific hormones. While the stress response prepares a person to react quickly and enhance performance under pressure, it can cause problems when it overreacts or is activated long-term.

Causes of Strees in Teens

School pressure
College and career decisions
Peer relationships
Pressure to “fit in”
Pressure to experiment with alcohol, drugs, or sex
Body image issues
Family and peer conflicts
Being physically bullied, cyberbullied, or both
Trying to do it all (school, sports, clubs, afterschool activities, social life, work, family obligations)

Signs That a Teen is Suffering from Stress

Increased complaints of a headache, stomachache, or tiredness
Withdrawing from people and activities once enjoyed
Anger or irritability to a level that is out of character
Feelings of hopelessness
Noticeable changes in eating or sleeping habits
Significantly avoiding parents

Strategies to Help a Teen Manage Stress

Build a trusting relationship
Be available for your teen and ready to talk when he/she is ready
Teach your teen to problem solve
Encourage self-care (exercise, good nutrition, and sleep)
Teach and model good coping skills to manage stress
Encourage your child to seek out positive peers and role models


While negative behavior in teens may not always be linked to excessive stress, negative changes in behavior are almost always an indicator that something is wrong. It’s important to pay attention and be involved with your adolescent in order to determine an appropriate response or intervention. A stressed teen can become a distressed teen when they are unable to cope or feel they do not have the ability to meet a challenge. If you feel that your adolescent is experiencing significant symptoms of stress on a regular basis you may want to consider a consultation with a licensed mental health professional.

Websites and Additional Information

About Dr. Skipper

Dr. Skipper is a Florida Licensed Clinical Psychologist who works extensively with children, adolescents, and families to provide therapy and psychoeducational assessment services.

She received her doctorate degree from the Florida School of Professional Psychology.  Dr. Skipper has worked with children, adolescents, and families in a variety of settings which include mental health clinics, residential settings, drug treatment facilities, and schools.

Through the integration of a variety of empirically-based treatment approaches, Dr. Skipper assists her clients by providing new skills and empowering strategies to build distress tolerance, enhance awareness and communication, facilitate insight, and challenge maladaptive relationship and thinking patterns. She employs an active therapeutic stance to facilitate long-lasting, positive change. 

Dr. Skipper’s background also includes a B.A. in Elementary Education with 11 years of experience in primary education. 


Disclaimer: The above information is not intended to provide professional advice or diagnostic service. If you have any concerns about Teen Stress or other health issues, please consult a qualified health care professional in your community.