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.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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