Nationwide Survey Finds Different Perspectives on Anxiety Between Parents, Young Adults

GeneSight Mental Health Monitor finds that many struggle to know the difference between teenage behavior and a mental health challenge.

Just half of parents with children aged 16 to 24 years said that they are very or completely confident that they can tell the difference between normal adolescent challenges and a mental health condition, according to the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor from Myriad Genetics, Inc, a genetic testing and precision medicine company.

In addition, nearly 1 in 3 parents surveyed said that “anxiety” and “worry” are the same thing.

“Anxiety and worry are not the same thing. Worry is situational; anxiety is persistent and excessive, and it doesn’t go away when the specific cause of stress or distress is gone,” Debbie Thomas, EdD, APRN, based in Louisville, Kentucky, said in a statement.

“Every day in my practice I see children and young adults and/or their parents who have unintentionally ignored or minimized the symptoms of anxiety until they become a crisis. The best outcomes occur when we don’t wait until anxiety becomes all-consuming and life-disrupting,” Thomas said.

The GeneSight Mental Health Monitor is a nationwide survey of adults in the United States, conducted by ACUPOLL Precision Research, Inc. from August 2021 to September 2021, among a representative sample of adults ages 21 years or older and a representative sample of parents of individuals ages 16- to 24-years-old.

According to the study, about 1 in 3 parents believe that anxiety and worry are the same thing.

“As many parents of teens know, your kids may stop confiding in you. Yet, the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor shows how vital mental health conversations are,” Mark Pollack, MD, chief medical officer for mental health at Myriad Genetics, said in the statement.

“If you suspect your child’s mental health is suffering, talk to them and talk to a health care professional about your concerns,” Pollack said.

In addition, just over half of parents surveyed said that they think their children would be comfortable talking with them about their mental health struggles, but only about 1 in 5 16- to 24-year-olds surveyed said that they would tell anyone about their struggles with mental health.

Additionally, approximately 3 in 4 adult or young adult children who experienced a mental health challenge indicated at least some of the challenges occurred before the aged 18 years old, and approximately half them said that their parents never sought treatment for them, while approximately three quarters said that they wished their parents had done so. Of these respondents, approximately 67% said it was because they would not have suffered so much during their teenage years, approximately 66% said that they would be better equipped to handle their current problems, and approximately 64% said it would have better prepared them for adulthood.

“Transitioning into adulthood is enough of a struggle. No one should have to battle their mental health at the same time,” Thomas said in the statement.

“Give your child the gift of mental health treatment if they are experiencing anxiety so that they can become successful, caring, and well-adjusted adults. This also lets them know it is okay, normal and optimal to seek help at other times in their life if needed and is another positive step in destigmatizing mental healthcare,” Thomas said.

Reference

The new generation gap: nationwide survey finds different perspectives on anxiety between parents, young adults. Myriad Genetics. News release. November 23, 2021. Accessed January 5, 2022. Email.