Overscheduling kids’ lives causes depression and anxiety, study finds

Title: "Overscheduling kids’ lives causes depression and anxiety, study finds"

Published on February 5, 2024, by Jill Barshay on The Hechinger Report, this article highlights a study conducted by economists from the University of Georgia and the Federal Reserve Board, shedding light on the detrimental psychological effects of overscheduling children's lives. The original article can be accessed through the detailed URL: [URL Here].

Summary: A recent study, detailed in the Economics of Education Review's February 2024 issue, has delved into the psychological costs of overscheduling children's lives, revealing that excessive homework and extracurricular activities may harm their mental well-being. Conducted by economists from the University of Georgia and the Federal Reserve Board, the research emphasizes the need for a balance between academic pursuits and crucial non-academic skills development.

Analyzing time diaries from 4,300 children and teens, collected as part of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the researchers discovered that the pressure to excel academically during high school years, coupled with a surge in homework and extracurricular activities, negatively impacts students' mental health. Homework and scheduled activities encroach upon time earmarked for sleep and socialization, contributing to heightened levels of anxiety, depression, or anger.

While the study couldn't precisely quantify the ideal number of hours for children's activities, it urges parents to assess their own busyness and whether their children have sufficient time for spontaneous activities, indicating that feeling stretched may be a sign of overscheduling.

Enrichment activities, including homework, reading, and before- and after-school programs, were categorized for analysis. Initially, a positive association between scheduled activities and academic skills was observed. However, the researchers noted that scheduled students also tend to be wealthier, leading to a potential confounding effect. Adjusting for family income and demographic factors revealed a nuanced relationship, with some academic benefits persisting.

The study introduced a new statistical technique to account for students' inner differences, revealing that, once adjusted, the academic benefits diminished, and the last hour of homework and activities negatively impacted non-cognitive behaviors. The psychological downsides of overscheduling emerged before students maximized their cognitive skills, presenting a dilemma between academic achievement and mental well-being.

While the study prompts uncomfortable questions about overscheduling, it also acknowledges the systemic challenges. Parents, schools, and policymakers share the responsibility to establish balanced policies and alleviate the pressure on children. The article concludes by advocating for state or federal-level educational policies that collectively address the issue and promote a healthier environment for students.

In summary, the study underscores the importance of finding a balance in children's activities, considering both academic and mental well-being aspects, and calls for a broader societal approach to address the challenges associated with overscheduling.


This summary was created with the assistance of AI software.

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