Most young Koreans under stress: Survey

Most young Koreans under stress: Survey

Nearly 60 per cent of Koreans aged 9-24 are under stress in their daily lives, a report by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family found Tuesday.

Some 39.5 per cent of the respondents in the triennial survey said they sometimes felt stress while another 18.6 per cent said they were regularly stressed out.

The survey also showed that a smaller number youth under the age of 13 felt stressed than their older peers ― 41.6 per cent compared to 62.1 per cent.

Researchers said this was due to the pressure to enter college or the job market.

Girls were more likely to be stressed than boys, at 63.7 per cent and 53.2 per cent, respectively.

Despite the built-up frustration, teenagers were reluctant to seek help from their parents.

The percentage of teens who said they talked to their parents for more than an hour per week was 31.8 per cent and 53.1 per cent, respectively.

Experts say the excessive stress is likely to lead to extreme acts, particularly stress related to academic accomplishments.

Earlier this month, an 18-year-old surnamed Kim left for Turkey in a suspected attempt to join the Islamic State militant group.

Investigators found that Kim had been bullied during his middle school years, and the experience had led him to form a negative view of Korean society.

"Kim may have sought to deal with his anxiety (about the world) by depending on a powerful organisation.

... With Korean society overly hung up on academic accomplishments, it is possible he feels the country does not want him," Kwak Keum-joo, a professor of psychology at Seoul National University, recently told local media.

Kim's case is extreme, but the government survey showed that 40.6 per cent of the youth have felt the urge to run away from home, with 9.8 per cent saying they had actually done so.

Officials added that the urge to run away was less prevalent among youth who talked to their parents more.

"The students who conversed more often with their parents were relatively free from both stress and the compulsion to run away.

They were also more likely to be happy," an official said.

It also showed that students got an average of 7 hours and 27 minutes of sleep per day.

According to the ministry, this was a 10 minute increase compared to 2011, but was about 30 minutes less than the figures for countries like the US or the UK

A report by Eulji University showed that students who slept less than seven hours per day were 1.48 times more likely to consider suicide than those who got adequate sleep.

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