Recent studies in both Australia and the U.K. have shown high levels of psychological distress and anxiety in secondary school pupils, increasing over the final three years of school. Indeed, the levels observed in final year pupils have been just as high as those observed in unemployed young people. It has been suggested that the discrepant findings in some longitudinal studies reported during the past few years might be due to the inappropriate use of at-school baseline measures, where disproportionate numbers of pupils at different levels could have affected the conclusions. In response to this suggestion data are reported from a longitudinal study of school leavers, in which 1980 at-school measures were analysed as a function of year level and intended year of leaving. The findings gave no support to the hypothesis that stress level increased from over the last three years, and therefore the use of baseline measures was vindicated. It was concluded that a decade of sustained high youth unemployment is the reason why those about to leave school seem prone to greater stress and anxiety than was the case ten years ago.