New Survey Finds Teens Happier, More Motivated
Use of Chat GTP, desired support from schools, hope for the future, and more explored in national poll
Indianapolis, IN—A new survey of American teens finds their mental health, motivation, relationship with friends, and overall happiness have improved since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nationally representative poll was commissioned by EdChoice and conducted by Morning Consult. It included a sample of 1,000 teenagers aged 13–18 surveyed March 24 – April 5. It’s the sixth such poll EdChoice has conducted since August 2020.
In the most recent survey, teens report their lives have improved in many ways since pandemic years. In the past year, teens experienced the most significant improvements in their relationships with friends (21-point increase), motivation (16-point increase), and physical health (15-point increase). Specifically, Black teens, Hispanic teens, teens from urban areas, and males are most likely to report feeling better. Additionally, the survey found that 30 percent of teens say they are thriving to some degree, though a concerning 9 percent say they are suffering.
“It is encouraging to see that most teens are feeling better overall,” said Paul DiPerna, Vice President of Research and Innovation at EdChoice. “However, we clearly need to improve our support systems for students in a range of areas.
The survey confirmed that the students least likely to believe they are thriving are LGBTQ students, teenage girls, and those living in rural areas. Importantly, only one-third of teens feel supported by their schools when it comes to mental health, relying most heavily on friends for this type of support.
“The disparities shown in the survey remind us of the work we still need to do to ensure that all students have access to a learning environment that meets their unique academic, social, and mental health needs,” DiPerna continued. “Schools play a crucial role in the overall wellbeing of our youth, and it’s concerning to see a relatively small proportion of teens feel supported by their schools when it comes to mental health. We hope this survey serves as a wake-up call for policymakers, parents, and educators to prioritize giving families more choices in where and how their children are educated and where their social-emotional needs are met.”
Teens do report feeling supported by their parents and schools academically, and more than half report feeling happy and having a sense of purpose. They want learning to focus on skills for future employment more than core academic subjects and fixing social problems.
Overall, the survey results provide a growing positive outlook for the future of American teens’ mental health and wellbeing. However, continued monitoring and support from parents, schools, and mental health professionals will be crucial to ensure that this trend continues.
In addition to wellbeing, the survey also explored teens’ familiarity and use of Chat GPT, fears of violent intruders, career and college readiness, and more. Access the full results here, and the crosstabs here.
To speak Paul DiPerna, contact Chantal Lovell at Chantal@edchoice.org, or 989-251-8388.
On behalf of EdChoice, Morning Consult administered an online survey to a national sample of 1,000 Teens (ages 13-18) from March 24 to April 5, 2023. Interviews were conducted in English. Weights have been applied to the respondent data to ensure the survey sample’s demographics are nationally representative. The demographic weighting targets for teens are based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, and region. For more information about the polling methodology, visit: https://edchoice.morningconsultintelligence.com/methodology.
EdChoice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. Our mission is to advance educational freedom and choice for all as a pathway to successful lives and a stronger society. We are committed to understanding and pursuing a K–12 education ecosystem that empowers every family to choose the learning environment that fits their children’s needs best. EdChoice is a charter member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative and adheres to its standards and ethics. Learn more at edchoice.org.