NEWS

Greek teenagers are anxiety-ridden and plagued by insecurity and they seek refuge in family life

Over the past 25 years, the landscape has changed dramatically for the younger generation, who are under pressure from both the education system and their parents to perform, but are not given the means to meet the demands. They also have little free time at their disposal. Their transformation into adults is long-term and their way strewn with obstacles. Two major studies, in Britain and Greece, reveal a worrying state of affairs. Kathimerini has examined all the major surveys carried out in Greece since 1980 and compared them with a survey recently published in The Guardian on British youth, which looked at three generations of 15-year-olds, in 1974, 1986 and 1999. Although the methodology differed in each country and the objective was slightly different – in Britain the researchers focused on the psychological disturbances faced by teenagers (violent behavior and the use of drugs are more prevalent in the UK than in Greece) – there are nevertheless many common tendencies. Findings from the British study, «Time Trends in Adolescent Mental Health,» conducted by a team from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and the University of Manchester, to be published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in November, was the subject of an article in The Guardian on September 15. It included the observation that «the mental health of teenagers has sharply declined in the last 25 years and the chances that 15-year-olds will have behavioral problems such as lying, stealing and being disobedient have more than doubled. The rate of emotional problems such as anxiety and depression has increased by 70 percent among adolescents.» «Behavioral problems increased over the whole period, while emotional problems were stable until 1986 and have subsequently shot up. The increases cannot be explained by the rise in divorce and single parenthood, argues the team of researchers, because they found comparable increases in all types of families, although there is a higher rate of adolescent mental health problems in single-parent families,» said The Guardian. «The research found that the rising rate of 15-year-olds with behavioral problems correlated to their increased chances of experiencing a range of poor outcomes as adults, such as homelessness, being sacked, dependency on benefits and poor mental and physical health.» The results of the Greek study are summarized below.