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US Youth Have Serious Mental Health Issues

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the get-off-my-lawn-and-take-your-adhd-meds dept.

Medicine 818

Ant writes "Google News carries a Canadian Press report that 'a new study has found that five times as many high school and college students in the United States are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues than youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era. ... Pulling together the data for the study was no small task. Led by [San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge], researchers at five universities analyzed the responses of 77,576 high school or college students who, from 1938 through 2007, took the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI. The results will be published in a future issue of the Clinical Psychology Review. Overall, an average of five times as many students in 2007 surpassed thresholds in one or more mental health categories, compared with those who did so in 1938. A few individual categories increased at an even greater rate — with six times as many scoring high in two areas: 'hypomania,' a measure of anxiety and unrealistic optimism (from 5 per cent of students in 1938 to 31 per cent in 2007), and depression (from 1 per cent to 6 per cent).'"

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818 comments

In the words of the great Ken Titus... (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736722)

Stop being a bunch of wussies!

Seriously, kids today have to wear helmets just to ride a bike, have some pediatrician putting them on powerful Autism medication if they don't start talking at just the right time, are diagnosed with Asperger's the second they show the least bit of shyness, are taught by teachers who scream "AHDHD--Drug him up!" the first time they act out in class, and come home to parents who think that a child molester is hanging out on ever street corner just waiting to kidnap their kid. *They're* not the ones who are screwed up, it's the adults around them that are screwed up.

JUST LET THEM BE KIDS, for Christ sake! Stop acting like there is something wrong with them because they're not perfect, or act differently than you expect, or make stupid mistakes. That's what makes them kids. Stop cocooning them like they're delicate eggs who will crack at the slightest risk or challenge. And, above all, stop drugging them up. A kid shouldn't be taking medication for anything less than a serious physical problem. You don't give a kid powerful psychotropic drugs just because they're rebellious or shy. They'll have plenty of time to dope themselves into a stupor and cry at a psychologist's office when they're adults.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (2, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736838)

That's what I said when the doctor said my boy had cancer! Stop coddling him, or he's going to grow up soft and spoiled. What if he were grown up and had cancer? He's going to have a family to feed, and trust me, they need to eat. They won't take an excuse like "I've got cancer and that's why I can't work" when they need their dinner on the table and a roof over their head.

Kids seriously need to man up these days.

Alrighty, enough sarcasm. Why is it that there's always at least one guy in every crowd without any empathy, but with plenty of (wrong) answers?

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736898)

dunno, but at least he's modded into obscurity.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736930)

Drugging your kid up and treating him like a piece of delicate porcelain isn't empathy--it's just shitty parenting.

yes, sir... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737204)

The title should have read:

US Adults Have Serious Mental Health Issues and Poor Parenting Skills

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737274)

To be fair, it's more to do with the inability or unwillingness to think for oneself, instead of blindly going along with whatever government (or any perceived authority) recommends. It's unfortunate, but it's simply human nature. Most human beings are followers, and nobody knows this better than those who a fortune in the business of "leading".

TFA backs up parent.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736956)

FTFA:

Experts say such high expectations are a recipe for disappointment. Meanwhile, they also note some well-meaning but overprotective parents have left their children with few real-world coping skills, whether that means doing their own budget or confronting professors on their own.

So by bringing up our kids like wusses, we're creating wusses. That's not to say we need to go back to beating them "spare the rod spoil the child" BS, but giving them healthy limits and letting them screw up and pay the consequences.

That's were modern parents fail: they're either too strict and pushy or they're overly permissive and rescue the kid whenever they screw-up - even if it means getting them out of jail.

The above, of course, is in general. There are some wonderful parents out there.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (4, Insightful)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737156)

Maybe you should have read his post a little closer. Personally I'd consider Cancer a Major Physical condition and I agree with the OP that kids are way over medicated. Beyond that "kids today" are way to well informed, constantly being bombarded with school shootings, people being blown up and all the craziness in the world. IMHO the OP is also correct that too many parents are over protective and won't allow their children to have the opportunity to make mistakes that could lead to physical harm, which teaches them valuable lessons about life and acceptable social behaviors. I remember being seriously hurt falling out of a tree when I was young, I learned a valuable lesson pain hurts and it, along with things that cause it, should be avoided.

I also have several friends who have kids where each kid is diagnosed with some kind of mental disability or disorder. The one that makes me laugh the most is a little girl that's "shy" and was diagnosed as Autistic. She was on medication for it and after two years a psychiatrist told her parents the medication was effective and there daughter was becoming much more "normal" in her development later her parents found out that out she had been spitting the pills out, throwing them away and hiding them in a compartment of her jewelry box.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (3, Insightful)

KalAl (1391649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737402)

elrous0:

A kid shouldn't be taking medication for anything less than a serious physical problem.

Profane MuthaFucka:

That's what I said when the doctor said my boy had cancer!

Sounds like a serious physical problem.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736892)

Ah, the obligatory bigoted luddite anti-medical "ADHD doesn't exist" comment. They're popular in Slashdot.

For the record, ADHD is aneurodevelopmental disorder. It can certainly _cause_ many mental health issues if left undiagnosed and untreated, which it would be if it was up to agressive anti-evidence based medicine spiritualists like you. You disgust me and I hope you never have children you can hurt.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (1, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737226)

The teachers wanted to drug me up. My mom took me to see a shrink to get an opinion that actually matters the dr said I was board in class.
I had a substitute teacher once say "when I was your age we didn't have Ritalin, we had a switch and the switch worked a whole lot better."

Yes ADHD does exist, but chances are the acting out kid doesn't actually have ADHD.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737430)

Yes ADHD does exist, but chances are the acting out kid doesn't actually have ADHD.

Well, the problem with math (and "chances" means math's involved) is that it's easy to apply the wrong way.

Let's see those "chances" of not having ADHD are, say, 95%, with a 5% chance that it's actually ADHD after all. Now look at, say, a million children that are acting up in some way. (Not unrealistic, given that there's many, many more children in the USA.) Now you would probably conclude, for each individual child, that they don't have ADHD; after all, the chances for that are 95%, right?

So all in all, you'd conclude that since no individual child does, none of the children have ADHD. In fact, you might even conclude that ADHD probably doesn't exist.

If you look at the big picture, though, since ADHD is 5% likely, you'd actually have to expect 50k children that DO have ADHD in this example, though - certainly not the "zero" you arrived above.

It should be obvious what went wrong there (hint: the chance of none of n children that are acting up having ADHD would be 1-(1-0.95)^n, not 0.95).

Also, "mental health" isn't limited to ADHD. Myself, for example, I'm suffering from social phobia, another of those conditions that the Slashdot hivemind sometimes likes to claim don't exist (if it's mentioned at all; most people aren't aware of it in the first place). Of course, it does, and to claim it does not is like claiming that depressions don't exist because everyone gets sad on occasion but still manages to deal with it.

The general lesson that can be drawn from this, I think, is that when you assess conditions such as this, you shouldn't just look at the quality - i.e., what they are, e.g. ADHD etc. -, but also at the quantity, if you will - the severity. Everyone's unfocused or hyperactive at times, but taken to an extreme, even normal behaviour can be pathological.

That said, I'm no fan of stuffing kids full of pills, of course. Medication has helped me, personally, but only insofar as that it stabilized me and provided a foundation upon which therapy could build. Medication without therapy is useless at best and dangerous at worst.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737466)

True, a lot of teachers don't know any better. On the other hand, my wife who was a neuroscientist now high school biology teacher has had many parents approach her asking for special treatment of their child due to supposed Aspergers or ADHD. She can clearly tell the child doesn't have a problem and usually can't convince the parents to re-diagnose.

The bombshell she often has the opportunity to drop on the parents, though, is comparing their kids excellent grades in her class to their failing in something like math. The kid is just simply bored and has bad study habits.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737238)

Ah, the obligatory, "I see things in black and white AC". They're popular in Slashdot.

I don't think the OP was saying ADHD doesn't exist. He was referring to the massive amount of misdiagnosed children on medication in this world. I'm my experience, most children on ADHD medication don't need the medication, they are acting out for other reasons that the parent don't want to deal with.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737276)

He didn't say that it didn't exist, he suggested that it was over-diagnosed by under-qualified individuals.

ADHD is very real, and can be very debilitating.

It's also commonly misdiagnosed in children who are simply harder to control or focus than the adults around them would prefer.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (5, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737338)

ADHD is aneurodevelopmental disorder.

Yes it is. It is also very rare and extremely overdiagnosed. As is the case with Aspergers and clinical depression, this trivializes the condition and ultimately hurts those who do have a real problem.

Therapies other than drugs exist (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737452)

For the record, ADHD is aneurodevelopmental disorder. It can certainly _cause_ many mental health issues if left undiagnosed and untreated

Treatment, yes; medication, not immediately. I read grandparent as implying only that parents and teachers shouldn't knee-jerk to get a psychiatrist to prescribe controlled stimulants before trying other therapies. For example, failure to concentrate in school could come from not being able to read what the teacher is writing on the whiteboard.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736894)

Can we expect a new youtube meme, "LEAVE KIDS ALONE!", where you're hiding under a blanket, crying...
Chris, is that you?

Seriously though, I agree on the root idea of your post, well worded

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736974)

Something tells me someone missed his dose of psychotropic drugs this morning.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (2, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736980)

You don't give a kid powerful psychotropic drugs just because they're rebellious or shy.

Perhaps that's part of the problem. More LSD!!

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737100)

Hold on I'll just check my inbox for a cheap supplier!

American youth have it easy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736998)

American youth today have it very easy.

When I grew up in Hungary in the 1950s, life was somewhat difficult. My family was lucky, as my father was a supervisor at a washing machine factory, and my mother was lucky to have a job as a seamstress. We at least had food, and did not go hungry like so many of our neighbors!

We had one neighbor, Piotr, who had several children. One of them died just after birth, and another drowned. His three remaining children grew to be adults. But when they were young, old Piotr did not have enough food to feed his entire family! He would provide the best nourishment to his children and wife, while during tough times he would eat grass, paper and sawdust.

But let me tell you, what the children ate was not so good compared to today's food! The bread, it was almost always stale. So it was used in horrid stews of left over meat and dirty water. On rare occasion there was chocolate (maybe once or twice a year). There were no Coca Colas! There were no potato chips! There were no McDonalds or Burger Kings!

When you have not any food, then social pressures become quite irrelevant. Success becomes defined by the meager foodstuffs in your pantry, not by the newness of your cellular telephone or the shine of your gold ganger jewelery or the brand name shirt with a stupid logo on it.

Re:American youth have it easy. (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737254)

I don't know about sawdust, but whenever I'd complain, my mother would point out that at least I'm not eating Crisco sandwiches. (Not that she ever got quite to that point, but other kids at her school did).

Take that, Mr. Standard-Of-Living.

Re:American youth have it easy. (1, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737390)

And yet those horrid stews were probably more nutritious than the food substitute served at Burger King.

Re:American youth have it easy. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737400)

This isn't funny, it's probably true. My father went through the Hungarian revolution, and he has stories of the entire family of 5 splitting one egg for a meal. He has a thing about cleaning off plates. He still (literally!) licks his plate clean at home.

Re:American youth have it easy. (4, Funny)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737454)

There were no Coca Colas! There were no potato chips! There were no McDonalds or Burger Kings!

So it wasn't all bad then.

Re:American youth have it easy. (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737474)

/me bows his head and respectfully steps off the Anonymous Coward's lawn.

Re:American youth have it easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737544)

I had similar experience growing up, but it was easier for me because my sister was number one whore in all of kazakhstan

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (3, Informative)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737020)

This
 
But I'll take it one step further, and then these kids hit college and are out on their own and they don't have anyone to fall back on for support. That's when the problems start to set in.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (5, Insightful)

fredma123 (1348555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737116)

I agree. If Parents would just stop worrying and let us make mistakes, things would be a lot better for us. We learn by making mistakes, not by parents trying to prevent every little thing from happening. It's a bit cold outside. So what? I'm not going to die.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737252)

Well said.

Looking back, I realize there was plenty wrong with me, but my parents didn't take me to get drugged up like my stepmother did for my stepbrother. I turned out fine, and he wants to go to college for marketing or politics. MARKETING or POLITICS.

Like a team, its not our strongest that makes us, its the weakest link. Sheltering people from their weakest link stunts their growth in that direction.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (1, Insightful)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737318)

Seriously, kids today have to wear helmets just to ride a bike,

Ignoring the rest of your comment, which may have some elements of truth, but is primarily over the top in my view, I found this bugged me specifically.

My mother, when she was around 10 years old or so, had a friend that died after crashing his bike, and hitting his head on a pole. An injury which would most likely would not have been fatal had he been wearing a helmet. This would have been in the '70s, so I have no clue how common bike helmets were then, but the point still remains.

Do you honestly think the extremely minor inconvenience of wearing a helmet outweighs the significantly reduced chance of serious injury, brain damage and death?

I agree in part to some aspects of some of your other points, (I overall disagree with the tone, but don't really have enough knowledge of the subjects to write anything) but that one about the bike helmet just outright seemed silly.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (4, Informative)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737468)

This would have been in the '70s, so I have no clue how common bike helmets were then, but the point still remains.

No one wore bike helmets in the 70's. In my experience, bike helmets really came into favor in the 90's.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737352)

True story. I got asthma when I was little (age:2 or 3), and had it all my life.
I couldn't run for more then 10 seconds without getting bad reactions (I'm the one getting 12min. miles in gym class).
At age 17 I decided that I didn't want to use those stupid inhalers and breathers. Doctors said no to this.
I struggled for 2 years, never used those medications once, ya it sucked, but you get used to it.
2 years later, I ran after some friends, and noticed I could run without problems. (I led a pretty active lifestyle for an asthmatic)
At age 19, I visited my doctor to show off (never told her that I completely stopped her meds 2 years earlier). Ever since then I haven't had any asthma.
Now every time I run, I am always thankful for not having asthma. (My latest mile was about 6 minutes)
The end.

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (4, Insightful)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737428)

Damn straight. Save the good psychotropics for the rest of us that actually WANT them.

Seriously though, the world is much smaller than it used to be. Eighty years ago, you'd have found kids largely unaffected (at least knowledgeably) by corrupt politicians, overbearing advertising, and media scares. Nowadays, with the fear that gets put into kids, it's sort of a wonder they aren't filled with more disorders. "Hey kids, SARS is going to KILL you, and if it doesn't, then Avian flu/mad cow/swine flu/zombie flu will! Better come get our vaccine." "We're going to sell you sex, but then 30 seconds later, you'll see a PSA talking about how if you hold hands with a member of the opposite sex, you'll get AIDS and die. Buy Trojan Condoms!" "This stuff must be making you pretty stressed huh? Stay away from drugs, they'll kill you the first time you use them, 100% guaranteed." The kids aren't even presented with the opportunity to be kids and enjoy being oblivious and immersed in their imaginations where they belong due to the fact that they have to be taught at a young age to treat everything with skepticism based on the fact that absolutely everything and everyone is looking to milk money from them. The youth is the cash cow of the media and industry, and with the ubiquity of tv, radio, and in-store advertising, it's impossible to shield them from it. You can always turn your kid into a shut-in, but that causes just as many issues in other ways. I remember growing up and meeting kids like that who were "released into the wild" at the high school age, and they had the social skills of a pile of bricks. Of course, I also remember riding a bike without a helmet, being a kid, and also later sex, occasional drugs, alcohol, and good times.

Meta-diagnoses (2, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737432)

Autism ... Asperger's ... "AHDHD--Drug him up!"

The stuff I quoted - today we have these what I call "meta-diagnoses". Some people might actually medically suffer from these, but they are also slapped around negligently with the basic message "something's wrong in you". It's increasingly hard to distinguish whether they really mean anything or not.

Same thing with the anti-depressants which are distributed like candy. Of course now that we've begun to call mental illness a "disease" it works great for the pharmaceutical companies to sell their crap. Medication for a disease, right. But mostly it's just a wrecked mental state, how can you call that disease?

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737442)

As part of this, it seems that everyone has forgotten that "normal" is not a single definition. Normal fits on a bell curve, like almost everything else.
Intervention can be appropriate for the extreme edges of the bell curve, but it creates exactly the problems you talk about when applied to people not in the middle 1%

Re:In the words of the great Ken Titus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737506)

My daughter is alive because we made her wear a helmet.

Everything else, I agree with you on...but when conducting dangerous physical activities, appropriate protection should be worn. Or maybe the NFL should get rid of helmets and padding; seat-belts and airbags should be ripped from cars; et cetera.

That's not news (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736736)

Not every American boy or girl read Slashdot!

So American youths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736776)

They're calling you crazy. Are you going to let them get away with that?

Re:So American youths (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737164)

Eh... Whatever...

And? (5, Informative)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736778)

I'd say a majority of adults I've met don't exactly lead healthy balanced lives either. Most of the stress and anxiety that I see in people I meet is due to their inability to deal with issues and conflicts in their every day lives in a logically and emotionally balanced way (intentionality).

A lot of people spend their entire lives without ever understanding the idea of being intentional, instead of a victim to what appears to be a random array of emotions.

Re:And? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737140)

I'd say a majority of adults I've met don't exactly lead healthy balanced lives either.

I wonder if they actually ever did? Violence is certainly an indicator of poor mental health, but there was a lot more of it in previous centuries.

Re:And? (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737342)

I'm not indicating that I believe that "these days" are worse than any other time in history. I'm sure we're getting better as a species.. I just worry that some of us are coming up to speed faster than others, if parents are stunting the evolution of the mind of their children...

I've never met an idiot who didn't have at least one bad role model.

Too much input (1)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736796)

People are suffering from information and media overload...no down time for the brain. The whole GIGO business.

Re:Too much input (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736870)

Nerve Attenuation Syndrome (NAS) also referred to as "The black shakes"
At least that's what Henry Rollins told me.

Re:Too much input (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736964)

You can't go by him. He's a liar [youtube.com]

Re:Too much input (3, Insightful)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737082)

People are suffering from information and media overload...no down time for the brain. The whole GIGO business.

Suffering? Suffering? I'm enjoying it!

But seriously, I think humanity is going to have to find a new way to live. All our new technologies change the rules that our bodies and minds are adapted for. Either that or these technologies can't be sustained. We are fast approaching either total environmental burn-out or a new era of abundance... perhaps both at the same time. We are drowning in information, pollution, and choice. Most of human history has been a battle against starvation followed by a battle against ignorance followed by a battle for individual liberty.

It was easier to eliminate information scarcity. Water, food, power supply will be harder to fix. Abundance of each of these unleashes new problems. Abundance does not equate with quality.

Re:Too much input (5, Insightful)

goltzc (1284524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737278)

I couldn't agree more. Whenever I have moved to a new apartment/house there is always a 1-3 week period where I have no cable or internet. After I would get home from work my wife and I would pretty much make dinner read a book and go to bed. It was absolutely amazing how our stress levels went down and how much more recharged we were waking up after calm evenings like that.

Now of course like most people, once my cable and internet showed up, my tv was always on, I was checking my email and working in the evenings. Long story short, I think the mind really does need some time to relax.

Re:Too much input (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737470)

No different from the '50s and '60s when I was a kid. TV, newspapers, magazines, movies. And looking back, I think adults were as screwed up then as adults are today. Maybe more so.

I blame women (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736824)

Back when women stayed in the kitchen, this kind of thing never happened!!

Seriously though, I'd like to see what type of lifestyle changes people think contributed to this. Is it the internet porn? Cell phone text messaging? Cell phone cameras in bathrooms? Air conditioning? What?

Re:I blame women (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737360)

Could be nutritional... widespread use of high fructose corn syrup, for example.

Could be ethical... an increase in celebrity worship, for example.

Could be psychological... an increase of anxiety-producing news on every media channel, for example.

Could be all of the above.

unrealistic optimism (0, Troll)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736846)

unrealistic optimism

Isn't that just "The American Dream"?

Re:unrealistic optimism (5, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737332)

I don't think so, to me the "unrealistic optimism" speaks more to the sense of "entitlement" that people seem to have these days. Which is in contrast to what the "American Dream" was to me "Yes anything is possible but there will be a lot of work"

unrealistic optimism? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736848)

i'll take that over 1989 - 1992 when i went to high school. we were told the US was screwed, the japaneese were taking over, and we would never be able to find a job. for all the good memories of the 1990's, i don't think it was as good as people remember. high interest rates, higher average unemployment than this decade, crappy RE market made it hard to sell property.

Re:unrealistic optimism? (3, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737186)

How about 1959 when I started grade school. We were two itchy trigger fingers away from nuclear anhaillation. Terrorists? Pshaw, those of us who had "duck and cover" drills don't worry about terrorists. Nuclear war with thousands upon thousands of warheads going off is REAL terror.

Re:unrealistic optimism? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737286)

Maybe terrorism is an attempt by the CIA to stress people a bit and give them the sense of perspective and appreciation for the simple things life like Dad's moonshine and Mom's Possum Pie that imminent nuclear annihilation did in the good old 1950's. If so I'd say it is mighty public spirited of them.

Things were harder back then (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736852)

With myself (sample size of one) I find that I have a near constant level of neurosis (which does thankfully decline overall as I get older). When things are going badly in some area, I can direct my dwelling towards real anxieties that actually exist. Dealing with relationship, earning a buck, dealing with family etc. When everything is going well I find some new unrealistic area to direct those anxieties.

I suspect in the good old days, people were too busy trying to feed themselves to worry about needless shit. In this age of relative abundance and leisure time, we have much more time to devote to our neurotic navel gazing. And our self survey results reflect that.

I WAS WORRIED ABOUT BEING ALONE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736854)

'hypomania,' a measure of anxiety and unrealistic optimism (from 5 per cent of students in 1938 to 31 per cent in 2007), and depression (from 1 per cent to 6 per cent).'"

I WAS WORRIED ABOUT BEING THE ONLY PERSON GOING THROUGH THIS BUT CLEARLY ILL BE THE NEXT BILL GATES!

Children haven't changed much in Thirty Years! (2, Informative)

TropoJoe (1719320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736860)

Related to Hypomania the children of the great depression certainly were not very optimistic about anything. The numbers of course are skewed by the time frame of the studies. I'm sure the numbers wouldn't be that remarkably different from the mid 80's if not even improved to a degree.

Re:Children haven't changed much in Thirty Years! (4, Insightful)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737112)

I dunno...I think there is a huge difference even in the past 20 years. I was born in 1974 and was told that basically not everyone is a winner - there are some losers, the world needs astronauts and ditch diggers, we cant all drive a hot rod camaro - sometimes you have to have the brown LTD that smokes a little when it starts up. It conditioned to me the inevitable failures that I would have in life and I did not overreact. Life sucks, get a helmet.

Kids these days (hell, my 17 year old cousin is like this) are told that EVERYONE is a winner and a unique and beautiful snowflake, that everyone can be whatever they want to be, and that we all can have whatever we want. These kids have no exposure to failure...and have a meltdown when they meet it for the first time.

My wife and I have had this discussion (and its gone interesting since she is Swedish and was not raised around corporal punishment - while I got whippings if I deserved it) and we are going to raise our kids to not bullshit them about the reality of life. That there is always going to be someone better at them at something - but that its ok. Life goes on and there is no reason to freak if you get a B- when you did your best, get picked last at kick ball because you dont run as fast as some of the other kids, or the girl/boy of you have been having wet dreams about is not interested in you.

Re:Children haven't changed much in Thirty Years! (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737424)

Life goes on and there is no reason to freak if you get a B- when you did your best

You know who whines about their best.

In all seriousness though, it's very easy to make the statement "This is how we will raise our kids" and point fingers at parents who have even the slightest difficulty raising their children. I think that is unfair. If there was some magic formula that you could follow and end up with perfect children and no problems, we would have figured it out millenia ago. Reality is never so simple that you can say with any confidence that you will raise your children the 'correct' way, as there are so many things that can cause things to go off the rails.

Even if I had 100% of my time to devote to my children, there is no guarantee that they will turn out the way we expect them to, and while bad parenting may be the root cause for a lot of issues that we see in children, it isn't some blame catch-all for every problem we see.

Re:Children haven't changed much in Thirty Years! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737392)

When I was a kid there was no such thing as ADD or ritalin. But... I think I may have suffered some attention defecits, even if they didn't have a name for it then, or drugs to treat it.

It was the eighties before Prozac and other antidepressants were invented, an untreatable mental illness is less likely to be reported than a treatable illness. Plus, there's the cost of mental health treatmenet; most insurance plans still don't cover it.

"Unrealistic Optimism" (4, Insightful)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736872)

Well, what do they expect when they remove all competition from a kid's life? I've seen parents that refuse to let their kids participate in anything competitive, for fear that if they should lose their child's dreams will be permanently shattered. All this leads to is the kid thinking they really can do anything, when the actual fact is that everyone has limitations in some form, and in a competitive world, sometimes you lose. I assume this is what generates the majority of this "unrealistic optimism". Coddling children and not allowing them to experience real situations will not prepare them for the real world.

Re:"Unrealistic Optimism" (2, Funny)

Asadullah Ahmad (1608869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736962)

with six times as many scoring high in two areas: 'hypomania,' a measure of anxiety and unrealistic optimism

Wait a minute, does that mean Facebook groups like "I just study before the exam day.." are not meant as a joke?

Re:"Unrealistic Optimism" (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737354)

I was more of a fan on the group F.I.N.A.L.S.
Fuck I never actually learned this shit.

Re:"Unrealistic Optimism" (4, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737406)

While searching for a job, I've discovered that many companies desire this "unrealistic optimism." A recruiter I was using sent me a list of questions the company was going to ask me, and "mistakenly" included the correct answers. Questions like, "How important is it for you to be the best?" have answers listed as, "Very important to be the best, not just 'do my best.'" Another question asks, "Are you a perfectionist?" and then lists, "must say yes," as the correct answer.

I think kids have such "unrealistic optimism" because it's desired in today's society. Unfortunately for me, I found college to be a very humbling experience, and I fear these kids will too.

The Criticisms as Outlined in the Article (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736874)

Before you hop all over this like we love to, keep in mind that the article does a pretty good job of representing the skeptical side of this study:

Though the study, released Monday, does not provide a definitive correlation, Twenge and mental health professionals speculate that a popular culture increasingly focused on the external - from wealth to looks and status - has contributed to the uptick in mental health issues.

And also:

The study is not without its skeptics, among them Richard Shadick, a psychologist who directs the counsellingcentre at Pace University in New York. He says, for instance, that the sample data weren't necessarily representative of all college students. (Many who answered the MMPI questionnaire were students in introductory psychology courses at four-year institutions.)

I have a cute anecdote about a friend who graduated with a psychology degree and left her job as an assistant to become a grade school teacher because most of the psychologists at the Manhattan practice had more psychological problems than their patients.

Emphasis mine. Now, another interesting thing about Jean Twenge is that the books she writes aren't universally accepted by her peers [nytimes.com] :

"Generation Me" inspired a slew of articles in the popular press with headlines like "It’s all about me," "Superflagilistic, Extra Egotistic" and "Big Babies: Think the Boomers are self-absorbed? Wait until you meet their kids."

Ms. Twenge is working on another book with W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia [nytimes.com] , this one tentatively called "The Narcissism Epidemic."

However, some scholars argue that a spike in selfishness among young people is, like the story of Narcissus, a myth.

"It’s like a cottage industry of putting them down and complaining about them and whining about why they don’t grow up," said Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a developmental psychologist, referring to young Americans. Mr. Arnett, the author of "Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road From the Late Teens through the Twenties" (2004, Oxford University Press), has written a critique of Ms. Twenge’s book, which is to be published in the American Journal of Psychology.

Granted you could claim that this is just one example of two camps infighting in a field that plagues even physics and hard sciences but I think it's important to realize that this study might be a little self serving. Personally I share two concerns. The first being similar to Shadick's in that I'm not sure how these two studies were normalized samples and the second questioning if we have any idea what the 'norm' is for these 'diseases.' How subjective is this test and would a variance of 1% to 6% for depression be unrealistic if we knew that it's been as high as 10% at other points in time between 1938 and 2007?

The curmudgeon in me wants to chalk this up to kids having it too good these days. No polio to worry about, no eight hour shifts to support the family and more information swarming them. A lot of today's youth have the luxury of being diagnosed with hypomania. Now I know that there are serious cases of depression and always have been ... but sometimes I encounter a youth who says, "My boyfriend just broke up with me and now I sit in my room and listen to depressing music." And they (or their over protective parents) think they need medication for that. They don't. Sounds to me like they need to be picking rock and bailing hay to help take their mind off that. We're overmedicated as it is. If Ms. Twenge continues to push this idea it might just get worse. How many people read news of this study and though "maybe my kid needs to see a psychologist for depression?" It's hard to look past this and assume the motives for this study are pure.

Re:The Criticisms as Outlined in the Article (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737272)

I agree that we as a society are overmedicated, but I think that the blame for that rests solely on the shoulders of the people taking the medications (or parents in this case) and the medical/pharmaceutical industry and has nothing to do with "kids these days" being whiny or whatever. I don't think this has anything to do with the children themselves or their state of mind, its the society as a whole, we've been led to believe that the solution to life's problems is more big pharma and taking more drugs and more powerful drugs with cleverly marketed names to make them sound innocuous. Moreover, from your post:

but sometimes I encounter a youth who says, "My boyfriend just broke up with me and now I sit in my room and listen to depressing music."

This sort of thing has been happening as long as people have been writing this stuff down. For a reference from the 80s generation, go watch High Fidelity [imdb.com] .

Rob: What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

Secondly, you can see this type of thing happening in ballades and chansons that were literally written hundreds of years ago. E.g. in the song Barbara Allen [wikipedia.org] , the two kids both die of depression because their relationship wasn't working the way they wanted it to. Granted it's an exaggeration, but you can't say a song like that, written in 1750, doesn't reflect similar sentiments as what you wrote.

So I don't think that there's anything especially wrong with people nowadays, or that the study has really any merit, it's just our society has developed this weird idea that more and more powerful drugs are better. Even if you don't take drugs yourself, there may be some effect from all the chemicals in the drinking water, like estrogen [medicalnewstoday.com] . The only way to stop that is to reign in the medical industry, and have more powerful water quality laws.

Re:The Criticisms as Outlined in the Article (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737362)

I have to correct myself, it was first written down in 1750, but the earliest known mention of Barbara Allen was 1666 by Samuel Pepys. There you go, 344 years of teenagers whining about breaking up with their boy- and girlfriends.

Re:The Criticisms as Outlined in the Article (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737440)

In a psychology class I took in college, the instructor said "there isn't a psychologist alive that doesn't have another psychologist calling him a gold plated liar."

I suspect many if not most psycologists study psychology to find an answer to their own mental health problems.

regarding Hypomania (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30736888)

from wikipedia

"Classic symptoms of hypomania include mild euphoria, a flood of ideas, endless energy, and a desire and drive for success."

I'd attribute that to pharm parties, adderall and redbull.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

All teens are insane, it's called growing up. (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736920)

"anxiety and unrealistic optimism"

Congrats, psychologists. You've just defined the modern teenager.

Re:All teens are insane, it's called growing up. (1)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737152)

Yes, but evidently that doesn't define teenagers from previous generations. That's the whole point of the study.

It seems pretty simple to me. (0, Troll)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30736976)

Children today are encouraged to speak their feelings, to elaborate on their dreams and their worries, the technology and culture to do so are omnipresent.

Women didn't suddenly develop personal politics the instant the 19th amendment was passed, they were simply more allowed to exercise it.

Children are more deep, complex, disturbed, ADD, Autistic, sexual, etc etc, because they are allowed to communicate in a more meaningful way than they were before.

In a "Don't speak unless spoken to" culture, it takes a fool to wonder why nobody knew what children were thinking.

Re:It seems pretty simple to me. (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737398)

Yeah, that would have been because children are self-centered idiots and it's barely worth listening to them if they're yelling fire.

This is any different from adults? (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737004)

Between getting laid off then working a contract plus overtime with no benefits (most importaintly health insurance) and taking two code project heavy graduate classes my sanity has been on edge lately.

There is a lot of stress when you are competing to work towards the top levels of your fiel as you have to work very hard or be very smart to be noticed among a large group of very smart people.

I've read that there is less stress when you are just working what ever odd jobs come your way instead of pushing to be at a higher level. Is this true or are these articles (and as a result now me) talking out of their a$$.
(I am probably middle or upper middle class)

Is it even a valid comparison? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737012)

The original MMPI was developed in the 30's based on people in Minnesota who had psychological problems. Is the comparison even valid due to the present ways of thinking, greater blending of cultures, etc.?

Greater Knowledge (2, Insightful)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737042)

This reminds me of some comments I've seen old people make. That things were better in the '50s because people didn't have "these problems" with mental health, minorities and whatnot. And how they act as if homosexuality was something invented in the '80s or '90s to shock and offend them. Forgetting or course that many of the mental health problems existed but were classified as demonic possession or something stupid, and people were generally less likely to seek assistance because of both societal disapproval, and lack of knowledge on their part. Also, obviously, so called "problems" like homosexuality have existed forever, it's only in recent decades that society has become tolerant enough that some people are no longer hiding it.

I didn't read the article and am in no way commenting on it. The writeup and headline just reminded me of my grandmother's husband.

Re:Greater Knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737448)

Actually, I think the main reason most people didn't talk to psychologists back then was that psychologists liked to LOBOTOMIZE people for relatively mild conditions.

If talking to someone about your anxieties can get an icepick stuck in your brain, you keep your mouth shut!!!

Interesting that nobody ever brings that up when they discuss so-called rates of psychological treatment.

Actual Data or Trendy Teen? (2, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737046)

I know that this data spanned several decades, but one has to wonder what the impact of "teen angst", complete with its own social class (Jock, Geek, "Emo") has now, against a survey like this?

Yes, large amounts of data through several decades is nice, but when it's now "popular" to act like a Tim Burton character or a "death for true love" torn "Vampire", I can't help but take this data with a grain of salt.

I'm sure it has nothing to do with Big Pharma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737078)

I'm sure that the increase in number of youth diagnosed with serious mental health issues has absolutely nothing to do with Big Pharma selling drugs that can cure any disease. Well, treat any disease. There's no money to be made in curing diseases, you want something like a nice vague mental disorder - with a completely subjective diagnosis - which you can sell pills to treat to people for the rest of their lives.

Information Anxiety is the new ADD. (4, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737090)

Welcome to the year 2000 (er, 2010) and meet your new friend Information Anxiety. I'm 30 years old and I feel it. I constantly feel like I need to keep up with news, this and that, hobbies and interests that are fueled by easy access to information on the internet, social networking, friends, internet friends, real life friends that I only really see on the internet these days. Now compound all of that into a teenager's mind along with high school pressures, school work, trying to find themselves, hormones and being awkward, the opposite sex (or even harder yet, maybe the same sex), etc.

100 years ago, our main concerns were food, shelter, and family. These are second thoughts for many these days. I recently quit social networking for half a year and it was one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

More or...? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737104)

I think another weakness of this article is the fact that reporting is *much* better now than it was in the 30's. Like how the autism rates are shooting up. More and better reporting, not more afflicted people.

Life isn't very mentally healthy, in general.

How does this make you FEEL? (5, Insightful)

JRHelgeson (576325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737108)

Let's see; when you give kids a trophy for just showing up to the game, and high school kids make 'A' grades for minimal effort... kids today are conditioned to believe that life is easy, and they are 'super-duper'. This is the post accomplishment era we live in. Their actual test scores are among the lowest of civilized nations, yet their confidence levels are among the highest. What does this tell us? They don't know anything but they FEEL really good about it. This is what we get when the school system focuses on the importance of feeling rather than the importance of achieving. When kids discover that the real world doesn't care how you FEEL, it is rather anxiety inducing. The employer stance has necessarily become one of: I DON'T CARE how you feel, can you do the job or not?" Pay is based upon accomplishment and achievement, not on feelings.

What about Europe and Asia? (4, Informative)

simp (25997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737122)

Does anybody have the numbers for EU and Asia? For some reason I'm not seeing the same stories here in the EU. Personally I think that in the US there is a real drive to get everybody who shows a bit of a problem directly on heavy medication instead of dealing with it while they grow up.

Or maybe it's just diagnosed more (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737124)

When poorer kids in the 1930's started having problems in school, they were labeled as "stupid" or "lazy", given D's and F's, and that was it. Now, a school counselor is brought in and a much more specific and medically accurate label for their problem and recommend a treatment for them.

For wealthier kids, it seems to be partially a way of ensuring that their kid does well in school and other activities. A lot of these parents are going to start thinking something is medically wrong if the kid's grades start slipping into the B-/C range, and will find a counselor who will tell them just that and create a treatment. A diagnosed mental illness can turn a C student into a B+/A student due to extra time on exams, special help on projects, and so forth, as well as drugs that improve concentration (among other things).

The upside of this pattern is that more kids who do have real mental illnesses are getting treated properly and are able to handle their schoolwork better, rather than being simply dismissed as bad students. The downside is that you now have a large population of kids (and adults for that matter) who are wandering around drugged and a much narrower understanding of what behavior is "normal" enough to be *not* indicative of a mental illness.

News at 11, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737188)

Newsflash, when starvation is a concern then self-actualization and minor mental/behavioural issues are less of a concern.

It's the cheese! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737208)

Correlate the results against cheese consumption. No really!

Cheese is mostly the protein casein. And that is molecularly similar to... wait for it... morphine. As is gluten. So people are getting low level opiate hits when they eat cheese or wheat. There are stories of a gluten free, casein free diet helping people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Cheese was pretty rare in the American diet in the 20s. But Velveeta introduced a shelf stable, consistent 'cheese' and made in-roads into the American diet. As refrigeration became more common, people started trying more kinds of cheese. Throw in a big advertizing budget and some cozy ties with the government, and cheese has been on the rise for years. I read the history of cheese in an "Invention and Technology" article a while back.

Every generation thinks the kids are nuts (2, Insightful)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737212)

We just now have entire industries backed by science to prove it! Haha!

previous generations (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737216)

dealt with things like world war i, world war ii, the bubonic plague, the american revolution... etc.

all with less media resources, lower quality nutrition (we don't have lower quality nutrition these days, we have TOO MUCH nutrition), a worse set of ideologies, lower socioeconomic status, etc.

whatever stresses today's youth are going through, its fucking easy in comparison stresses previous generations have faced

get over it, grow the fuck up. sorry you're daily video game hours or facebook/ twitter diddling hours has been reduced. i think you'll find the ability to deal somewhere deep in your rich bounty of character. pffffffft

Re:previous generations (4, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737304)

I have wondered if less "real" problems (such as not having to struggle to sustain your existence) manifests itself in more depression, anxiety, etc.

When you are busy just surviving you have less time to dwell on your problems.

Just a theory. Not that mental issues didn't exist in the past.

I know from my own experience and of some close to me, when you are sitting around thinking and are prone to these issues that's not a good thing.

yes: neuroticism, hypochondria (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737384)

are modern ailments

when you are deeply involved in making sure you simply have a meal to eat, you don't have the opportunity to dwell on the absence of a problem producing anxiety about having an absence of a problem

You get what you pay for. (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737348)

I'd agree, although the excessive narcissism is probably the more significant root cause.

Since the 1960s (Surprised? No.) the emphasis on social promotion, 'feeling good about yourself', rewards for non-achievement, and a slippery sort of moral relativism all have combined to leave our children emotionally retarded, and frankly incapable of dealing with reality.

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, and evolution is fucking painful. Deadly, in fact. Remove the pain from growing up, and you end up with emotionally undeveloped people, with no ability to cope with hardship, no capacity to comprehend the shitty things life is going to inevitably hand them, and (seemingly) very little resilience to survive.

Go back and read Generation X. His book describes the glimmerings of the future. I'm 42 - a real GenX'er (turned 13 in 1980, graduated from college in 1990), and I see the beginnings of it in myself and my demographic. Lack of ambition, ennui, a juvenile inability to focus, as well as a difficulty being happy with much of anything. I'd attribute it in myself to a lack of hardship and challenge, and believe me it's a bastard to cope with on a day to day basis.

And yes, I'm aware that I'm essentially yelling "Get off my lawn!" but when I look at teens today, it's terrifying how basically ignorant they are, and how amazingly short their attention spans are. They have a facility with electronics that amazes me, and I thought myself a fairly gadget-oriented guy. I regard them as "ignorant" because they don't know basic facts of geography, history, or culture - but then if one is permanently connected (as this twittering generation pretty much assumes) does one really need to store facts in their wetware? I think its necessary to have a basis of knowledge to understand the things going on around us, and to be usefully participatory adults, but then I'm old, I guess.

Oh, by the way, ROCK THE VOTE!! Ha ha ha /cry. And we thought we're screwed already....

It really bothered me (1)

whitedsepdivine (1491991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737364)

It is spelled percent not "per cent".

Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737408)

...what about the euthanasia?

Um hello (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30737434)

Kids who were still in school or College during the depression were doing pretty fucking well. It typically meant there parents still had some kind of money, or it meant that there parent didn't need their help scraping together food money.

YUO FAIL IT... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737488)

and shower. For paranoid conspirAcy networking test.

Self-Esteem Movement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737516)

I personally blame the self-esteem movement which encouraged the children of the 80's and 90's to feel invincible and that we hold the ability to do anything. This can be VERY overwhelming. On the other hand, a child, that grows up only knowing the career that his mother/father laid out for them, will be more content have no reason to set him/herself up for failure. Is happiness really worth the innovation? I think so. It's a pain of life that everyone has to go through eventually. If you can handle anxiety and depression, then how do you expect to leave college/high school?

Secondly, I also blame the public school system. Like always. Anyway, The United States public school system is built to be very broad and universal. Cookie cutter education. Meanwhile in Germany, students are tested in the 4th grade in order to decide, which type of career they would like to have. At the age of 9 or 10 they are already planning out their lives, without anxiety. This sets them on a track until they reach Secondary Education, which is separated into 4 different types of schools(Hauptschule, Realschule, Gesamtschule, and Gymnasium). Each with a different path. Hauptschule is considered the least academic, which you graduate in 9th grade. The Realschule requires a certain level of academic success, but only lasts until 10th grade. The Gesamtschule is considered to be situated between Hauptschule and Realschule, it requires no level, but can lead to college and the length of time varies. The Gymnasium is considered the high level education that precedes the University. It heavly prepares you for university, while also requiring certain academic marks to gain entry. It lasts until 13th grade, but can be cut short. Each level of school has a different diploma or Abschluss. Also, if a student finishes Gymnasium and passes his/her exit exam(Abitur), (s)he will be automatically accepted to any university at the cost of the government. To receive Abitur is a big accomplishment, which can only be compared to the International Baccalaureate Program.

This means that you could be 18 with 2 years of work experience already on your belt, while here in the states we are pressured to attend college. The university is where everyone is flocking. It's turning more into Baby Sitting than education. The University is miserable. It requires you to attend a class that you teaches you how to use charts. And they will label a business class. Really? I felt like I was in elementary school looking at the times tables. I was able to obtain a full-time career without a degree in the field that I love. I am a software developer. With maybe 2 years of college. And everything I learned there was practically useless. Even the classes that I loved are not helping me now. Currently, I am a PHP/MySQL developer, but my school only offers some simple database classes that I already learned in High School. Don't even try and find a PHP programming class.

Finally an explanation.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30737522)

...of how Obama got into the white house.

Rest comfortably tonight folks - with 1 eye open if you have a teenager in the house.

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