Study Offers Answer to Modern Teen Depression: Consumerism

With rates of thoughts and feeling of depression high among the youthful population, many mental health industry experts and academicians are eager to produce an explanation. From parenting methods to diet choices and everything in between, a number of reasons have been offered for the growing instances of negative emotional experiences and apparent decreases in mental well being among adolescents. One of the most recent suggestions is the steady, concurrent rise in consumerism, as posited by a study recently carried out at San Diego State University. The study may not definitively prove that young people are more prone to depression or sadness as a direct link to modern materialism, but it offers a strong argument for a connection between the two sets of data.

This data was collected from numerous studies and reports on teenage mental health and personality traits dating back to the 1930’s. Examining the reports, the researchers found significant increases in mood-related mental health concerns among modern adolescents through the year 2007. Modern youths were also more likely to report feeling sad or worried and disappointed with life in general than their predecessors, and rates of sensing personal isolation, narcissism, and emotional instability were increased among the most recent reports.

Modern focus on products and shopping in contrast to a greater concentration on human relationships and families experienced in the early twentieth century may be damaging the mental health of modern youth, suggest the researchers. The study also proposes that placing a higher emphasis on things than on social connections and experiences may lead to notable declines in mood. If true, the conclusions may point to greater opportunities for group and family therapy, among other multi-client, collaborative therapies, to help raise the quality of life and mental well-being for people in the future.

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The preceding article summarizes research or news from periodicals or related source material in the fields of mental health and psychology. GoodTherapy.org did not participate in or condone any studies, or conclucions thereof, that may have been cited. Any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org.

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  • Renee

    December 13th, 2009 at 4:41 AM

    People used to be realistic in the olden days, at least to an extent… but today, all that most teens and youngsters care about is to show off, to prove their superiority over others and flaunt their latest buys. I’m not saying everybody is like this, but a vast majority is. This has lead to there being no substance in people’s behavior and actions.

  • Eliza

    December 13th, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    If you think about it thhis study may have a valid point. Consumerism and materialism are what lead so many to having to always have the “right” things in order to fit in. Think about how much pressure a young person will fell when he or she cannot have these things due to financial constraints that are beyond control. for most teens it is all about just being able to fit in so I can easily see how not having the in things could drive some to become depressed and anxious. What we all need to do is to send a better message to teens that it is not about having things that will make you happy but finding a way to be happy and conteent with what you do have and who you are. And this is especially true for those who have a lot so that they will stop making those who are less fortuntae feel so unworthy.

  • jamie

    December 14th, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    the pace at which the world is going about everything nowadays scares me sometimes.

    when i was a student back in the 70s there used to be a lot less eagerness and competition to prove your superiority in every aspect.but if we look at youngsters today they just want to outrun and better the others in every aspect possible.This i think is leading there being no real substance in whatever the kids are doing…

  • Daniel Fleming

    December 14th, 2009 at 10:42 AM

    There is no love and affection left anywhere…Everybody just wants to have more money, not relationships or bonding. People are running, or rather sprinting, in the wrong direction and I just hope youngsters will realise this and turn back before they find themselves old and without a single worthy friend or companion!

  • BETH COOPER

    December 14th, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    I dont agree that there is no love and affection left in the world today…if you look in the right place you can surely find it:)

    And regarding youngsters experiencing depression, it is because of the many outlets that have opened up to them,the ones which their parents and grand-parents didnt have…teens today have too much on their hands…academics,friends,sex life,parental pressure towards academics and peer pressure in all aspects. while most of these things existed even for earlier generations, it is highly intense now.

  • Austin

    December 15th, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    This is just a bunch of garbage. Teens are depressed now like they always have been- that’s just the way of the adolescent.

  • Yusuke

    May 26th, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    Hey I am Student at International School Bangkok and Im 15 and I am Japanese.In my class we have read the book called “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson.This book is about 14 years old Melinda, who had serious problems in her school. She was raped by her ex-boyfriend and she was scared to tell people about it and became quiet after it happened. She also didn’t also have a good relationships in her parent and had no friends. So she became depressed… I think lots of teenager had problems like Malinda, what do you suggest depressed teens when they had no one to tell. Can you tell me good sources in website that had good advice for depressed teenagers? Can you tell me how to help depressed teen agers?

    Thank you so much for helping me out with any relevant information that you may have.

  • T

    July 19th, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    parents should maintain strong relationships and two way communications with their kids….

    If kids don’t get enough time and support from their parents they think they are not important for them and get depressed.

    Right?

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