College students and young adults are more anxious now than ever before. A new study launched by the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans (BIFYA) at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy aims to find out why and what—from a public policy standpoint—can be done about it.
According to a policy brief from BIFYA, 32% of 13- to 17-year olds have “met criteria for an anxiety disorder at least one point in their lives.” Anxiety is the most common reason cited by students who seek out counseling services at their college or university, surpassing depression. It is also the only presenting concern with a clear upward trend in the last four years.
Existing research points to several possible factors contributing to this rise in anxiety, including financial stress, technology, social media, and sociopolitical factors. The study, led by Professor Richard Scheffler, will delve into each of these determinants, explore whether certain cohorts are more at risk, measure the economic cost of rising anxiety, and propose policy solutions.
The Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans
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