Why Are College Students So Stressed Out?

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College is supposed to be the “best four years of your life.” But a study shows students are reporting record levels of stress. (via Healthland)

A UCLA study now in its 25th year gauges the emotional health of university students each year. The sample is pervasive, featuring the input of more than 200,000 freshmen at 300 colleges – and more students than ever before stated that their mental health was “below average.”

The historical change is stark: a quarter of a century ago, nearly 70% of freshmen ranked themselves among the top mentally stable people in their class; today only 52% rate themselves that highly, Certainly there are many stresses of college – ever-growing competition to succeed, the staggering debt students are taking on, and grim job prospects after graduation.

(More on TIME.com: See 5 ways to stop stressing.)

Interestingly, the New York Times reports the emotional stability gap was wide between men and women. A UCLA professor chalked it up to the way guys spend their leisure time. “Men tend to find more time for leisure and activities that relieve stress, like exercise and sports, while women tend to take on more responsibilities, like volunteer work and helping out with their family, that don’t relieve stress,” said Professor Linda Sax.

That leaves NewsFeed to wonder if a game of beer pong is a healthy stress relief.

See more about this study from our friends at Healthland.