The teen age

FREEDOM and independence, along with trust and respect, are the best things about being a teenager, according to a survey of Cambridgeshire 14-year-olds. The findings were reported as part of the latest research by Cambridge University s Roots Project, wh

FREEDOM and independence, along with trust and respect, are the best things about being a teenager, according to a survey of Cambridgeshire 14-year-olds.

The findings were reported as part of the latest research by Cambridge University's Roots Project, which was launched in 2005.

It is designed to look at adolescence from several angles to explain why some young people thrive, but others experience serious problems.

So far more than 800 14-year-olds, including pupils from Hinchingbrooke and St Peter's schools, in Huntingdon and Sawtry Community College, have taken part. St Neots Community College is due to get involved in the study next term.


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During the latest research, 531 teenagers responded to the question: "What are the three best things about being a teenager?"

The responses were categorised and the results based on first answers only. Freedom and independence, respect and trust emerged as joint top of the poll, each attracting 20 per cent of the vote. Friends/relationships came a close third with 15 per cent.

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Responsibility polled fourth place and teenagers could see the attractions of both having less and more of it. Among the boys 'more' and 'less' were equally attractive, each gaining nine per cent of the vote. However, 10 per cent of the girls preferred having less responsibility, while only six per cent chose more.

Taking part in, and being good at sport was more attractive to boys, six per cent, compared with two per cent of girls.

Only three per cent of the boys and two per cent of the girls rated having more money as one of the best things about being a teenager. Having fun was rated by only four per cent of the teenagers overall.

Roots project director Professor Ian Goodyer said: "The teenagers are clearly thinking about their place in society.

"Our past work has shown us how important friendships are at this age so we were slightly surprised that this was only third on the list.

"Perhaps friends matter more when things are going wrong in some area of life, like family or school work and having confiding relationships might then be that bit more special.

"But this is only a first look at the data. We should know more when we do more detailed analysis on the full sample of more than 1,000 teenagers."

Roots is funded by the Wellcome Trust and is following the teenagers through adolescence, from 14 to 17.

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