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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A description of healthy adolescents’ perceptions of stress : causes, symptoms, responses and outcomes Bowering, Alice Jean


This exploratory study describes healthy adolescents' perceptions of stress, the causes, symptoms, responses, and outcomes. Differences in their perceptions based on their age and sex are described as well as their perceptions of the relationship between stress and health. A questionnaire was developed as a part of this study. Forty-six individuals, ages 14 to 18, in Y.M.C.A. groups, responded to the questionnaire. Four respondents (9%) reported experience with a stress mangement class. Results of the study indicate the majority of respondents perceived stress as related to health and as a topic of concern. The respondents identified causes of stress related to school/uorK, the family, authority figures, peers, interpersonal relationships, and personal sensitivity. Physiological symptoms were the most frequently noted; affective symptoms the least. A variety of behaviors, including some negative health behaviors, uere reported as responses to stress. The response resources which facilitate the management of stress, described in the literature, were identified by the majority of participants. Participants were Knowledgeable of stress outcomes. When the answers were compared, significant differences based on sex and age were noted for six items. There was also a trend for responses to vary according to sex and age. The results are explained in terms of the factors which influence perception: time, physical state, experience, and the concept of the self. Further investigation of adolescents' perceptions of stress is recommended and stress management education for adolescents may be warranted. Further development of the questionnaire for stress management evaluation or for stress counseling is suggested.

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