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Stress and Resilience in Adolescence: An Evolutionary Perspective


by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi & Jennifer A. Schmidt — 1998

Much of the storm and stress that characterize the teenage years is cat, sed by a mismatch between the genetically primed behavior of adolescents and the societal demands imposed upon them by the present stage of sociocultural evolution. The two most obvious solutions—to change the genetic programming or to return to a social system that would accommodate the full expression of adolescent drives— are not feasible at the moment, but a third possibility exists that might reduce some of the conflict. Discovering what adolescents enjoy doing that is consistent with their genetic programming and also with social requirements, and making opportunities available for such activities— while reducing or modifying those that satisfy only one or neither of these requirements--may be helpful. A great deal of the stress of the teenage years will be eliminated if we allowed the natural resilience of adolescents to assert itself in activities that make their lives enjoyable and meaningful.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 97, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 99 Number 5, 1998, p. 1-17
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18714, Date Accessed: 12/13/2017 2:31:16 AM

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About the Author
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    University of Chicago
    E-mail Author
    MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI is a Professor in the Department of Psychology (Committee on Human Development, Committee on Mental Health), the Department of Education, and in the College at the University of Chicago.
  • Jennifer Schmidt
    University of Chicago
    E-mail Author
    JENNIFER A. SCHMIDT is a research assistant and a doctoral student in the Committee on Human Development, Department of Psychology, at the University of Chicago.
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