Independent Study

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Independent Study Project on the Young Single –
Review of Literature

HHS 4M1 – Family Studies
December 18, 2012
Carissa Cruz

Section A: Bibliographic Entry
Lunau, Kate. “The Broken Generation”. Mclean’s. Vol. 125, No. 35. September 2012,
pages 54-58
Section B: Overview
The article discusses the findings of a 2011 University of Alberta study, which discovers why so many university students have felt hopeless, depressed and even suicidal in today’s society due to different physical and psychological stresses. The article states that after motor vehicle accidents, suicide is the prime cause of death in Canadians aged 10 to 24. During this part of life, “people move out on their own, strike up new relationships, experiment with drugs and alcohol, and assume new responsibilities.” At college or university, students are most likely to be away from their friends and family who know them best, which removes them from a support group who might better recognize the development of symptoms of mental illness. The article states that 20% out of 525 respondents said that they would use stimulants non-medically at least once in their lifetime to “improve academic performance”, “study more efficiently”, and to “increase wakefulness”. Many students seem to be under more pressure when they are at home. Psychologist Gail Hutchinson suggests that it might be due to the fact that families are smaller so the students are carrying a bigger piece of their parents’ expectations.

Section C: Synopsis
The article focuses on people in their late teens and early twenties and describes how they are at the highest risk for mental illness such as major depression. More importantly, this article discusses the importance of the ability to cope, which takes time to learn. Trent University’s psychology professor James Parker believes that taking summer school rather than a summer job is not the best strategy. Often at summer jobs, the kids will “learn resiliency: serving coffee, waiting on tables and dealing with demanding bosses and crabby customers”. Overprotective parents believe that they are helping their kids, but once these kids begin their post-secondary lives, small problems may seem overwhelming. The article focuses on a student from McMaster University, Mariette Lee. Towards the end of her second year, she began to feel overwhelmed. She says she was “trying to do too much simultaneously, to be the perfect student”. Because of this, she began to skip class and did not eat right. Lee slowly became withdrawn, gripped by sadness or anxiety for reasons she could not understand. It wasn’t until a friend of Lee, who said he himself had a mental illness, reached out to her. She finally realized that she needed to talk to someone. Lee first got help at the campus health clinic and then at St. Joseph’s Healthcare located in Hamliton. She was diagnosed with depression. At first, Lee held back when it came to sharing her diagnosis, but opened up once she saw others being supportive. Section D: Conclusion

The information this article provided helped form ideas for my research question. This article states that during this part of a post-secondary student’s life, “people move out on their own, strike up new relationships, experiment with drugs and alcohol, and assume new responsibilities.” Therefore, at college or university, students are most likely to be away from their friends and family who know them best, which removes them from a support group who might better recognize the development of symptoms of mental illness. The article also states that towards the end of Mariette Lee’s (student featured in the article) second year, she began to feel overwhelmed. She says she was “trying to do too much simultaneously, to be the perfect student”. Because of this, she began to skip class and did not eat right. This helps with my research question because it proves that you are most likely to develop a mental illness at college or...
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