While a teen’s home life and school life may seem like two separate situations, they’re more related than you may realize. New research suggests that if a student is having a tough time at home, that stress spills over into school too — and vice versa.
Researchers at the University of Southern California found that conflicts at school and with family members tend to happen on the same day for teens ages 13-17, or these dilemmas may spill over into the next day too. It can even have an impact up to two days later. Basically, bad moods can spread from one scenario to another — whether a disagreement with a parent or a poor grade on a test. Teens with depression or anxiety were more likely to have negative moods spill over from one area of life to another.
The researchers who led the study, Adela C. Timmons and Gayla Margolin, write:
Spillover processes have been recognized but are not well understood. Evidence of spillover for as long as two days suggests that some teens get caught in a reverberating cycle of negative events.
This info is helpful because parents and teachers may be able to recognize when a teen is having a rough time, and see what it traces back to. Understanding that stresses can easily pile up can be the first step in dealing with these dilemmas.
For more stories about teen mental health, check out Choices magazine — a health, well-being, and life-skills resource for middle and high school students.