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Effect of Stress on the Health of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Teenagers


Stress can be defined as a state of mind and emotions under excessive pressure or tension as a result of unfavorable circumstances and demanding situations. Every human being, at some point in his life, experiences stress. Stress can be a positive or negative force, and the effects of these forces will be different on a person’s health. For example, it will serve as a positive force if you have an interview and you feel motivated, but if you are under the stress of getting late for a meeting due to a traffic jam, it will serve as a negative force. In this essay, the effect of stress on the human body, its causes, and its impact will be discussed, as well as who will be more affected by stress, indigenous teenagers or non-indigenous teens.


Most of the time, stress negatively affects the brain and the body. Stress that is left unchecked can result in many severe problems like headaches, muscle tension, pain in the chest and body, fatigue, weakened immune system, insomnia, heartburn, and stomach issues. Stress may lead a person to anxiety, anger, restlessness, depression, sadness, lack of focus, and motivation. Behavioral issues such as drug addiction, over and under-eating, tobacco usage, social withdrawal, laziness, and angry outbursts are also experienced due to stress. Diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure can also result due to stress. Causes of stress can be extremely unfavorable circumstances like the death of a loved one, bullying, harassment, loss of job, financial crises, separation or divorce, moving to a new place, traumatic events, or emotional problems. People of any age group can face stress, but mostly elders are its victims. Research shows that bullying and harassment cause stress and have a bad impact on the health of gender minority teenagers in the USA, and they have increased the use of alcohol to cope with the stress of getting bullied (Reisner et al. 2015).

The effect of stress on non-indigenous teenagers is higher than that of indigenous teenagers living in rural communities. They face many problems like language barriers, cultural shifts, bullying, a new environment, and fear of new places and people. Non-indigenous teenagers are highly exposed to unfavorable situations that can cause stress and have a bad impact on their minds and bodies as they do not belong to that place. The study shows that immigrant children experience a higher rate of problems like peer aggression and bullying as compared to indigenous children. They show more involvement in violent and suicidal behaviors rather than the native children due to stress. Native children live with their parents, and due to family cohesion, they show a lower violence rate (Pottie et al. 2015). Native children do not face the fear of new places and people, but immigrant children are new to that place and to the people of that area. They feel hesitant and take some time to feel comfortable in the new environment. On the other hand, another research shows that the rate of suicidal activities and alcohol consumption is increasing in indigenous children ( Wexler et al. 2015). However, this research does not show that the rate of suicidal behavior of indigenous children is greater than that of immigrant children. Victimized racial or ethnic minority teenagers are more exposed and at a higher risk of getting depression and social anxiety problems, due to which they show higher suicide-related behavior than native children (Pottie et al. 2015). Most of the immigrant children have to leave their families and live on their own, which can cause a stressful situation for them to manage everything independently and they show more symptoms of depression and stress than indigenous children.


Reisner, S. L., E. A. Greytak, J. T. Parsons, and M. L. Ybarra. 2015. “Gender Minority Social Stress in Adolescence: Disparities in Adolescent Bullying and Substance Use by Gender Identity.” The Journal of sex research 243-256.

Wexler, L., Chandler, M., Gone, J., Cwik, M., Kirmayer, L., & LaFromboise, T. et al. (2015). Advancing Suicide Prevention Research With Rural American Indian and Alaska Native Populations. American Journal Of Public Health105(5), 891-899.



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