What do young people worry about? A systematic review of worry theme measures of teen and preteen individuals

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Excessive worry can negatively influence one's developmental trajectories. In the past 70 years, there have been studies aimed towards documenting and analysing concerns or 'worries' of teen and preteen individuals. There have been many quantitative and qualitative approaches established, suggesting different themes of contextual adolescent worry. With the hopes of future clinical utility, it is important to parse through these studies and gather what is currently known about what teens and preteens worry about and what is the state of methods used to gather that knowledge. Studies were searched for using Web of Science, PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus and ScienceDirect databases and selected on systematic criteria. Data regarding the country in which the study took place, participants, methods of collection, worry themes and conclusions and limitations were extracted. Data were synthesised in a narrative fashion. It was concluded that currently available methods of measuring themes of adolescent worry face certain problems. Themes of worry differ substantially between the studies, with the exception of school performance seeing stable high endorsement across cultures and ages. Issues with ordering worry themes and implications for future understanding of adolescent and preadolescent worry are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-295
Number of pages11
JournalChildren Australia
Issue number4
Early online date11 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Dec 2020

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Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Keywords: adolescents
  • development
  • quantitative research
  • systematic review
  • worry


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