Guidebook Helps Adults in Baltimore Identify, Cope with
By Tim Parsons
School of Public Health
Returning to school can be a stressful time,
especially for teens. Many teens face stress from the new
demands of school, puberty, changing relationships, family
responsibilities and safety issues in their neighborhoods.
However, teen stress is not always recognized by adults.
The Center for Adolescent Health Promotion and Disease
Prevention at the Johns
Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has developed
a free resource guide, Confronting Teen Stress: Meeting
the Challenge in Baltimore City, to help parents,
teachers and youth-service providers identify stress in
children and discuss healthy ways to cope with it. The
guide is unique because it was developed in collaboration
with community members who work with young people. It also
includes material developed by teens for teens.
"Teen stress is an important yet often overlooked
health issue," said Anita Chandra, co-author of the guide
and a graduate student in the Bloomberg School's
Department of Population and Family Health Sciences.
"The way in which teens cope with stress can have
significant short- and long-term consequences on their
physical and emotional health."
The resource guide grew out of a research project
conducted by Chandra and Ameena Batada, a fellow graduate
student and co-author of the guide. Their study, titled
"Shifting the Lens: A Focus on Stress and Coping Among East
Baltimore African-American Adolescents," is one of only a
few to examine African-American teens' perceptions of
stress. Many previous studies have focused on environmental
factors, such as drugs and crime, as sources of stress for
teens living in urban communities. The "Shifting the Lens"
study showed that teens in Baltimore City face some of the
same stressors as do young people in suburban and rural
communities, including stress from school and relationships
with peers. Nearly 78 percent of the teens who participated
in the study cited school work as the most frequently
experienced sources of stress in their lives; 68 percent
cited parents as a source of stress. The study also
indicated that boys tend to use avoidance and distraction
to cope with stress, while girls tend to seek support from
others. The research led to the development of a video,
Focus on Teens, which was produced by teens to inform
parents and other adults about the issues of teen
"Our research showed that teens need help with stress
management. Confronting Teen Stress provides practical ways
adults can help," Batada said.
Chandra and Batada collaborated with a group of
community members to develop Confronting Teen Stress. The
group included parents, high school teachers, youth
organization directors and teens who offered insight into
the design and content of the guide. Their suggestions
included ideas for stress reduction activities and
resources. It was also reviewed by members of the Center
for Adolescent Health's staff and community advisory
The guide was supported by the Center for Adolescent
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, which is a Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Prevention
Research Center; the Shapiro Family Foundation; and the
Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund.
The guide can be downloaded from the Center for
Adolescent Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Web site
Individuals may also request up to five free copies by
GO TO NOVEMBER 8,
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
GO TO THE GAZETTE