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Mercer Island has it all, plus extra helping of teen angst

Island teens show far more cases of anxiety, depression and rule-breaking behavior than the norm, according to a new study by Suniya S. Luthar, professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

 Luthar, a developmental psychologist whose research focuses on resilience among at-risk youth, was hired to conduct the study by Mercer Island Communities That Care, a communitywide initiative to reduce underage drinking and drug use funded under a two-year Department of Health grant.

Results of a communitywide survey Luthar did on Mercer Island replicated many of her earlier findings on affluent youth and substance abuse. It showed a steep jump between junior high and high school in the percentage of students who used alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. A lack of contact with their parents contributed to distress among youth, according to the report.

This article appeared in the April 21, 2007 edition of the Seattle Times. 

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