Survey: Adults Say Stress Is #1 Problem for Youth Health

August 14, 2023

Stress, drug abuse and gun violence top the list of big problems for youth in Chicago

Stress emerged as the highest concern for youth health this year, with 78% of respondents considering it a “big problem” in a recent  Voices of Child Health in Chicago Parent Panel Survey by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Chicago Department of Public Health. Adults from all 77 community areas in Chicago were asked about the top health and social issues facing children and adolescents in the city.

“In our surveys, stress has been among the top concerns since 2018, but this year it surpassed all the other health and social challenges for youth,” said Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, Chair of the Department of Medicine at Lurie Children’s, Executive Vice President and Chief Community Health Transformation Officer at the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Lurie Children’s, and Chair of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The ongoing youth mental health crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic may have increased Chicagoans’ concern about child and adolescent stress levels.”

The top 10 health and social concerns for youth this year are listed below.

  1. Stress (78%)
  2. Drug Abuse by Youth (71%)
  3. Gun Violence (70%)
  4. Violence in Schools (68%)
  5. Lack of Adult Supervision and Involvement (67%)
  6. Depression (66%)
  7. Health Inequity (66%)
  8. Social Media (65%)
  9. Child Abuse and Neglect (62%)
  10. Suicide (62%)

Overall, higher levels of concern were found among parents vs. non-parents, among Black and Latinx adults vs. white and other-race adults, among women vs. men and among adults with lower household income vs. high household income.

“Young people today face unique stresses in their daily lives, particularly those from historically under-served communities, and that can have a significant impact on their health,” said Nikhil Prachand, MPH, Director of Epidemiology of Chicago Department of Public Health. “This is a reminder of the ongoing need to focus on mental health issues among young people and to always consider equity in doing so.”

Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is conducted through Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children’s is a nonprofit organization committed to providing access to exceptional care for every child. It is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Lurie Children’s is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.