NYU Study Examines Top High School Students’ Stress and Coping Mechanisms

Article published by NYU, Press Contact: Christopher James.


The study shows that there is growing awareness many subgroups of youth experience high levels of chronic stress, to the extent it impedes their abilities to succeed academically, compromises their mental health functioning, and fosters risk behavior. Furthermore, this chronic stress appears to persist into the college years, and researchers warns it may contribute to academic disengagement and mental health problems among emerging adults.

  • Over time selective high schools have oriented themselves to address a context of increasingly competitive college admissions
  • School work, college applications, extracurricular activities, and parental expectations all contribute to teenagers’ stress
  • Youth, schools, and experts identified substance use as a common strategy for coping with stress

“School, homework, extracurricular activities, sleep, repeat—that’s what it can be for some of these students,” says Noelle Leonard, PhD, a senior research scientist at the New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN).

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