Preparing to register for high school is a transition that is often stressful for children completing their elementary school.
A new program has demonstrated that it is possible to significantly reduce stress in some of these children thanks to a new educational tool designed under the leadership of Sonia Lupien, Director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) and professor at the University of Montreal.
A study published in February in Neuroscience confirms the benefits of the DeStress for Success Program among youth completing their first year of high school. "In 2000, our team showed that during the transition from elementary to secondary school, many young people produce high levels of stress hormones. Following this discovery, we wanted to test whether an educational program based on our current knowledge of stress would decrease the level of stress hormones and depressive symptoms in teenagers and help facilitate this transition," said Sonia Lupien, lead author of the study.
The study showed that adolescents starting secondary school with high levels of anger had, through the program, significantly lowered levels of stress hormones. These adolescents were in fact 2.45 times less likely to suffer from depression compared to the other adolescents. "This study provides the first evidence that a stress education program is effective in reducing stress hormone levels and depressive symptoms among adolescents making the transition to high school," says Pierrich Plusquellec, co-author of the study. The program also helped identify a certain profile of adolescent responding more to the educational tool.
More than a hundred professionals from all regions of Québec have been trained in the DeStress for Success Program. In addition, the program has been adapted to the clientele of the Centre Jeunesse de Montréal - Institut Universitaire. This adaptation has recently won a prestigious award from the Child Welfare League of Canada.