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  Teenage stress
Updated 20 October 2003, 15.51

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Health influences

World organisations say that one in five children in the world suffers from mental illness or behaviour problems.

Students assess their stress levels over the last 12 months, how it occurs and ways of dealing with it.

Learning aims

  • Learn to identify stressful events and the effects of stress.

  • Answer and discuss a questionnaire designed to measure teenage stress.
Read the story

Ask the class which of these causes stress?

  • Collecting a certificate in assembly

  • Getting a puncture on your bike

  • Going to a party that lasts 'til 2am

  • Your pet becoming sick

  • Getting a bad case of hayfever

  • Being told off at home or school

Make the point that all of these cause stress. Anything that changes our usual routines or makes us worry can make us feel stressed.

Main activity
Give out copies of the

Read through the instructions and life events with the class and explain any misunderstandings.

A total score of more than 150 indicates that someone may be overstressed. The amount that someone can take varies between individuals.

Extension activity
Use the information in the Teachers' Background to discuss the symptoms of stress.

Ask the students to give examples of how stress can affect people and how someone can help themselves beat stress. Answers may include:

  • Make your life as 'regular' as possible
  • Give yourself a break each day
  • Try and keep some time for yourself
  • Try not to do too much work
  • Eat more fresh fruit
  • Get regular exercise
Recap on the main teaching points and students reflect on what they can do to reduce stress in their lives.

Teachers' Background

  • The questionnaire has been adapted from the 'Social Readjustment Rating Scale ' by psychologists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe in 1967. They used a similar set of questions to conduct psychosomatic research (how the mind affects the body).

  • Too much stress will make you sick. Carrying too heavy a stress load is like running a car engine past the red line or leaving a toaster stuck in the 'on' position. Sooner or later, something will break, burn up, or melt down.

  • What breaks depends on where the 'weak links' are in your body.
Here are the most common 'weak links' and the symptoms that arise when they malfunction:
  • Brain - fatigue, aches and pains, crying spells, depression, anxiety attacks and broken sleep.

  • Gastrointestinal tract - ulcers, cramps and diarrhoea, colitis (inflammation of the colon) and irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Glandular system - thyroid gland malfunction (controls weight gain).

  • Cardiovascular - high blood pressure, heart attack, abnormal heartbeat and stroke.

  • Skin - itchy skin rashes.

  • Immune System - decreased resistance to infections and neoplasm (tumours).

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
TeachersStress questionnaire
WorldToo many children are mentally ill
ClubWhy exams led us to stress management


Web Links
World Health Organisation
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