so are teenagers in 2022

The national survey on the lifestyles of adolescents living in Italy, conducted by the non-profit association Laboratorio Adolescenza and the research institute IARD on a nationally representative sample of 5,600 students between 13 and 19 years, it has now been a reality for over twenty years.

But what emerged from the 2022 national survey is, to say the least, overwhelming. Anxious and disappointed by future and aware that Covid has partially irreversibly compromised its education. Much less likely than in the recent past to continue college. Greedy and sedentary, dissatisfied with their physical appearance and taken from the aesthetic dictates of influencers and fashion bloggers. Increasingly “connected” and with a slow but steady deterioration of relationships in the family and with the peer group. The widespread desire, much increased than before, to seem a real “desire to escape,” is to travel.

These are the alarming considerations that emerged from the 2022 report. “After the year of the Covid – explains Maurizio Tucci, president of the Laboratorio Adolescenza – we had put in this year’s survey the title and fears “, but unfortunately, the data By hand, the fears seem to be much greater than the hopes. the situation is even more fragile and frightening: in an age that should be everything, stretched towards the future, in which dreams and utopias should be the masters, in which one must be optimistic almost “by statute”, 52.7% of teenagers look to their future as “uncertain” or “worried.” “Optimists.” They are 14%, a percentage that drops to 12.7% among high school students and 11.8% among girls The bitterest consideration, on which we are all called to reflection deep, is that we have built the panorama that these teenagers see when they look out the window of their future, piece by piece ”.

The difficulty of resuming sociability at the mercy of “social” models.

58% of adolescents (69.4% of women) surveyed argue that in the two years of the pandemic they ate poorly (too much, too little, without regulation …) and 37% complain of to have gained weight. Beyond this somewhat visible aspect, 27% (35.4% of women) “look” fatter than their girlfriends average. And most importantly, 50.5% (60.7%) of the girls are not satisfied with theirs appearance Generally.

While it is generally known in adolescence that it is not easy to accept one’s own body in a strong transformation, the research reveals – comparing the data from the surveys of the Laboratory of Adolescents-IARD of recent years (conducted in comparable samples) – an effect caused by the Covid period, in which social relations have been drastically reduced, and the current return to normalcy. In 2020 (data collected before the outbreak of the pandemic) dissatisfaction with physical appearance affected 31% of men (today it is 39%) and 55.4% of women (today it is 60 , 7%). The percentages of “dissatisfied” that the year of confinements and “limited sociality” had decreased (27% men and 50.1% women).

What we understand by this data is that much of the problem stems from the comparison with others. What, moreover, should the adolescents themselves admit when they state (34% of men and 53.7% of girls) that in the assessment of their physical appearance the criterion of friends and companions is important.

But, above all, to affect the relationship with one’s own body and also with food, the role of influencer, fashion blogger, fashion, advertising. This is true for 59.1% of men and even 77.6% of girls. And conditioning increases with age, from 63.5% among high school students to 70.1% in high school. This evidence is worrying but not surprising if we consider that 76.1% say they have spent much more time on social media than in previous years.

The “wish list” for you to like more (see table) is almost endless – and even here we find the aesthetic dissatisfaction greatly increased over the past – but at the top of the girls’ wishes is always the mmito of the thinness (67%) and those of boys are the highest (57.2%). Going from high school to high school, the “desire,” with some explicable exceptions, tends to increase.


The females


Secondary school

high school

I would like to be thinner





I would like to be less thin





I would like them higher





I would like to be less tall





I would like some more beautiful teeth





I would like more beautiful skin





I would like a nicer nose





I would like prettier breasts




The contribution of the school

“If our annual observatory on the lifestyles of adolescents has been running successfully for more than twenty years,” says Carlo Buzzi, a sociologist at the University of Trento and scientific coordinator of the work, “it is only thanks to the sensitivity of schools.” Dozens of teachers and managers all over Italy who have been collaborating in extraordinary ways for years, taking care of the administration of the questionnaire. A very important contribution to social research on an often neglected age group – that of adolescence. The size of the sample -more than 5,000 cases- and the continuity with which we are able to carry out our surveys allow us, in fact, not only to photograph the adolescent reality, but also to observe and describe the evolution of the habits and styles of life, often very fast, that worries you. “

Research to plan the future of young people

“Knowing adolescents, also through research – says Paolo Paroni, President of the ITER Network-Istituto IARD – is an essential starting point for planning interventions and policies aimed at ensuring the new generations a social context in which to live adequate to “This is precisely the aim of the ITER Network, which proposes concrete and measurable interventions in favor of young people, to be carried out also taking advantage of the funds that will come from the Recovery Fund”.

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