The physical toll of teen social problems

People who endure hard times during their adolescent years could find their bodies suffer in the future as a result. This is the suggestion of new work published online in Springer's journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, which found stressors during the transition from childhood to adulthood can lead to disease in later life.

Investigators from Umea University in Sweden - founded in 1965 - discovered those who are hard up from both a social and financial perspective during their teens could experience physiological distress when they reach middle age as a consequence - regardless of whether their position eased during the years in between.

The authors observed: "Physiological wear and tear visible in mid-adulthood is influenced by the accumulation of unfavourable social exposures over the life course, but also by social adversity measured around the transition into adulthood."

According to the study, adolescence is a particularly sensitive time for females, while the same can be said about young adulthood for men.

Dr Lisa Orban, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "These findings speak to the importance of teaching young people more effective mechanisms to cope with stressors during this critical stage of development.

"Adolescents often learn to suppress emotions and actively avoid feelings and sensations associated with the body's natural response to stress.

"Emotional avoidance as a coping strategy can be practiced well into adulthood and can result in problematic long-term effects, including significant emotional and physiological distress."