Sad teenagers might feel depressed.

What Are the Causes of Sadness in Teens?

by Kristine Tucker

Moderate sadness in teens is a normal part of growing up. Teens learn that life often hands out difficult situations, and emotions are a healthy part of dealing with misfortune. Teenagers also experience hormonal changes that affect their outlooks and attitudes toward personal or family challenges. When your teen's sadness includes periods of prolonged depression, poor lifestyle choices or unhealthy habits, it's time to talk to your child's pediatrician or a medical professional about the condition.


Teenagers who have a difficult time dealing with disappointment often experience feelings of sadness, according to licensed professional counselor Ugo Uche on Relationship break-ups, low grades, not making a sports team or finding out friends aren't as trustworthy as they thought are all major let-downs. Family problems, money concerns and the inability to buy highly anticipated video games, new clothes or cutting-edge electronics can make teens feel sad and disappointed. When teenagers' disappointment is short-lived, they rebound quickly and the feelings of sadness fade. They might even learn to empathize with others who are in the same boat.

Identity Issues

Some teenagers feel sad because they struggle with personal identity or self-image. Being accepted by friends is extremely important to teens and they often feel sad when they are ignored or isolated by their peers, according to When a teenager feels that she isn't as pretty or as talented as her peers, she often battles with sad emotions and struggles with self-identity. Parents can help by reassuring their teenagers that they are loved and appreciated and guide them toward relationships and hobbies that are well-suited to their interests and goals.


Hormones play a big role in a teenager's feelings of sadness. When puberty begins, your teen girl produces high levels of progesterone and your teen boy produces high levels of testosterone. These hormonal increases lead to physical, mental and emotional changes. The ups and downs of puberty can cause some teenagers to feel sad and out of control, according to Parents should understand that most teens encounter mood swings during the transitional period from childhood to adulthood. Kindness, sympathy and patience can help your teen work through the roller coaster of emotions.

Creative Mind

Teens who have a left-brained mindset and are in touch with their creative side may struggle with sadness. Feelings of sadness are common among talented teenagers with creative gifts, according to Dr. Edward Hallowell, MD, on Teenagers who like moody music, emotional artwork and melancholy characters in movies and literature may be more likely to feel sad and express their sad emotions. Parents can encourage their artistic teens to express their feelings and share their emotions, so they don't bottle them up inside or feel ashamed for feeling sad.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images