School and Study Cause Most Stress for Young Australians – Report
Wednesday, 30th November 2011 at 11:23 am
School and study problems remain the top concerns of Australia’s young people, according to a new Mission Australia survey.
Mission Australia has conducted its National Survey of Young Australians – the largest of its type in Australia – every year since 2002.
Over three months each year it asks Australians aged 11 to 24 what they value, where they turn for advice and support, what issues concern them, how they are involved with their community and their feelings about their future.
Now in its tenth year, Mission Australia says the survey aims to give young people a voice and promote discussion between parents and their children. And because of its wide scope, the survey helps governments, educators and social policymakers to produce information and develop services pertinent to the needs of young Australians.
In 2011 the National Survey of Young Australians was completed by 45,916 young people. Of these, 9,903 (21.6 per cent) did so online, with the rest filling in a hard copy. Ninety-eight per cent of respondents were aged from 11 to 19.
The survey consisted of 19 questions, seven asking what young people valued, their issues of concern, who they turn to for support and advice, and what activities they were involved in.
The remaining questions collected information about age, gender, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification, location, languages spoken at home, if the participant had a disability, education and employment as well as living arrangements.
Young people were asked to rank their top three personal concerns from a list of 15. Nationally, the top three issues of concern were:
- School or study problems (37.3 per cent, up from 25.5 per cent from 2010)
- Coping with stress (35.4 per cent compared with 27.3 per cent in 2010)
- Body image (33.1 per cent compared with 31.1 per cent in 2010)
Respondents aged 20 to 24 were more likely to be concerned about coping with stress, body image and depression than younger people. Concerns about family conflict, bullying/emotional abuse, personal safety, drugs, alcohol and suicide decreased with age.
The survey found females were more likely than males to be concerned about stress and body image, while males were more likely to be concerned about drugs and alcohol than females.
In 2011 young people were asked if they had somewhere to go for advice and support about their main issue of concern.
- Friends, parents and relatives/family friends were the three main sources of advice and support (as in recent years) for all issues of concern, all ages and both genders
- Over 20 per cent said they did not have anywhere to go for advice and support.
- Respondents in their twenties and males were more likely to report this.
The internet was ranked highly as a source of advice and support for over one in five respondents concerned about sexuality, the environment, discrimination, body image, depression, and self-harm.
On the positive side young people were asked whet they value in 2011:
- Family relationships and friendships were the top two items valued by young people (74.3 and 59 per cent of respondents respectively)
- School or study satisfaction was third top issue, highly valued by 36.9 per cent of respondents – a big jump from 2010’s figure of 29.3 per cent
- Physical and mental health was highly ranked by almost a third of respondents
- There was a large rise in the proportion of young people valuing getting a job (22.7 per cent compared with 16 per cent in 2010).
The full report can be found at: