By Karen Zraick

New York Times News Service

Most American teenagers — across demographic groups — see depression and anxiety as major problems among their peers, a new survey by the Pew Research Center found.

The survey found that 70 percent of teenagers saw mental health as a big issue.

Fewer teenagers cited bullying, drug addiction or gangs as major problems; those from low-income households were more likely to do so.

The consistency of the responses about mental health issues across gender, race and income lines was striking, said Juliana Horowitz, an associate director of research at the center.

The survey also asked respondents if they considered alcohol consumption or teen pregnancy to be major problems among their peers.

Half of the teenagers from households earning less than $30,000 said alcohol was a major problem; that number decreased to 43 percent among teenagers in households earning more than $75,000.

Teenagers diverged most drastically across income lines on the issue of teen pregnancy.

Fifty-five percent of teenagers in lower-income households said it was a major problem among their peers. Just 22 percent of teenagers in wealthier households agreed.

The survey of 920 teenagers ages 13-17 in the United States was conducted online and by phone in the fall.

In their report, the researchers broke down results by income level and gender but not race or ethnicity, citing the small sample size.

Some psychologists have tied a growth in mental health issues among teenagers to increased social media use, academic pressure and frightening events like terror attacks and school shootings.

Teenagers who grew up in the post-9/11 era, and amid many school shootings, may have anxiety tied to an environment filled with dire warnings about safety, said Philip Kendall, director of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University in Philadelphia. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

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