In a much needed development, Malaga University researchers have designed 'Childhood Inventory of Daily Stressors' (IIEC), a new method to measure stress in children.
María Victoria Trianes, lead author of the study and professor at the University of Malaga, said: "The figures endorse the need for specific tools to assess daily stress amongst schoolchildren".
The study spells out 25 daily situations in the fields of health, school, family and peer relationships, all of which are quite important to development of children. The inventory has also been endorsed by teaching staff and parents.
The IIEC is related to grades at school and health problems. Some of the leading factors are worrying about physical appearance, taking part in too many co-curricular activities and being alone a lot. The inventory is also linked with a hormonal indicator, the cortisol levels on waking up, and allows for the prediction of 'socio-emotional change' in children.
Trianes said: "The IIEC provides valuable information for the development of psychoeducational intervention guidelines to improve school interaction and encourage children to develop the appropriate tools to manage daily stress throughout their lives."
The researchers assessed 1,094 children, aged 8-12, from 17 different educational institutions across Malaga, to come up with their conclusions.
Trianes added: "It is important to create tools to assess daily childhood stress, as this is an area which lacks resources specific to these age groups"
Thus "prevention and effective treatment will have positive consequences for mental health and development in childhood and adolescence."
The study has appeared in the Spanish journal Psicothema