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    April 14, 2016 -- Parents say their teenage daughters have higher levels of stress than their teen sons, citing causes such as college prep tests and poor body image, a WebMD survey shows.

    While we all feel some tension at times, more than half of parents (54%) rate their teens' stress at moderate to high levels, according to the survey of 579 parents of kids 13 to 17 years old.

    And nearly one-third of parents (28%) say their teen is sad or depressed, with the level higher in girls (32%) than boys (24%).

    ”Stress is inevitable,” says Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, a professor of pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. But “the choices (teens) make to react to stress will determine their health and well-being for a lifetime.”

    Girls were more likely than boys to tell their parents they were stressed (58% vs 45%) and parents were more likely to say their daughters had symptoms that could indicate stress.

    Signs of Teen Stress

    Parents ranked girls higher on several behaviors that could be signs of stress.

    Has your teen shown any of the following behaviors in the past 12 months?
    Behavior Percent Reported
    Stomach problems, headaches, chest pains Girls
    44%
    Boys
    31%
    Sadness or depression Girls
    32%
    Boys
    24%
    Problems sleeping Girls
    31%
    Boys
    29%
    Feeling pressured, hassled, hurried Girls
    31%
    Boys
    28%
    Anxiety or panic attacks Girls
    25%
    Boys
    17%
    Audience Size: 579

    Those red flags include:

    It’s unclear why parents report higher levels of stress in girls, says WebMD medical editor Hansa Bhargava, MD.

    “It could be that girls are more likely to show outward signs or to express that they’re stressed. Boys may also be more likely to internalize their stress and not express it. The key for parents is to keep communication lines open and talk to their teens often, regardless of whether they’re boys or girls.”