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Wilton Talk Covers Risks Of Growing Up In Affluent Town

Researcher Suniya Luthar will speak about the risks associated with growing up with affluence Friday, Oct. 21 at Wilton High School.
Researcher Suniya Luthar will speak about the risks associated with growing up with affluence Friday, Oct. 21 at Wilton High School. Photo Credit: File

WILTON, Conn. -- Did you know substance abuse among affluent teens is significantly higher than national averages? The same is true of anxiety and depression, according to research.

“Never in a million years would we, as parents, think that the good life we have worked so hard to obtain for our families could have a negative effect on our children, “ says Vanessa Elias, president of Wilton Youth Council. 

“The pressure and stress of our highly scheduled lives that we have come to accept as normal is hurting us and our children. The massive rise in children with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and stomach and headaches is our first clue.” 

Nationally acclaimed researcher Suniya Luthar will speak about this phenomenon on Friday, Oct. 21, at the Wilton High School Little Theater at 10 a.m.

While she was on the faculty at Yale University, Luthar conducted a groundbreaking study of students in Westport that found affluent teenagers have the elevated levels of anxiety, depression and substance use that most people associate with poverty. 

Over the last two decades this area has become one of her specialties, and she is widely recognized as an expert on the topic. 

Luthar will share highlights of her research on vulnerability in affluent teens and educate parents and school staff on skills and strategies to foster resilience. 

She will also touch on her more recent research on motherhood and the challenges facing mothers of adolescents today. 

“I’m very interested in hearing Dr. Luthar speak about her new research on mothers living in affluent communities - that we too are suffering from stress, pressure and isolation. We are not powerless, we can do something about it, and I look forward to learning how," said Wilton Youth Council’s Elias. 

Suniya Luthar is a foundation professor of psychology at Arizona State University and Professor Emerita of Columbia University's Teachers College. 

This presentation is free and open to the public. 

Parents, professionals, school staff and other interested adults are welcome. 

The program is appropriate for parents with children of all ages. 

For more information, call Wilton Youth Services at (203)-834-6241.

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