‘Millennial’ Generation Stressed Over Jobs And Money
By Dr. James Palermo // February 8, 2013
Recent findings from an American Psychological Association (APA) survey suggest that the “New Normal,” into which the American economy and culture have settled over the past five years, has had a deleterious effect on the stress level of the “Millennial” generation (also known as Generation Y).
Losing Sleep Over Jobs, Finances and Relationships
The survey found that, overall, Americans are less stressed than they were in 2008—except for young adults, who experience more financial and occupational anxiety than any other age group.
More than 2,000 adults were asked to rate their stress levels on a 10-point scale in the survey conducted by Harris Interactive last summer. With a score of one indicating no stress and ten extreme stress, survey participants reported an average of 4.9. However, in the 18-to 33-year-old Millennial generation age group, participants reported an average stress level of 5.4. More than half said that stress has “kept them awake at night” in the past month, and 39% say their stress has increased over the last year.
The Millenials who were surveyed identified jobs, money and relationships as the primary components of stress. Seventy-six percent said they worry about work, 73% worry about finances, and 59% experience anguish over relationships. Other stress factors were family responsibilities and the economy at 56 and 55 percent respectively.
Bleak Economy Particularly Onerous On Millennial Job Market
With the persistently high U.S. unemployment rate of 7.9 percent and the January statistics showing unemployment at 13 percent among 18- to 29-year-olds with as many as 1.7 million young adults not even counted as unemployed because they’ve given up looking, the job market for Millennials continues to look bleak.
Mike Hais, who co-authored a book on the generation called Millennial Momentum, told USA Today that Millenials are growing up at a tough time. “They were sheltered in many ways, with a lot of high expectations for what they should achieve. Individual failure is difficult to accept when confronted with a sense you’re an important person and expected to achieve. Even though, in most instances, it’s not their fault—the economy collapsed just as many of them were getting out of college and coming of age—that does lead to a greater sense of stress.”
More Depression and Anxiety Than Older Counterparts
With nearly one-fifth of Millennial survey participants reporting being diagnosed with depression and 12% saying they have been told they have an anxiety disorder, Millennials are being diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders more than any other age group.
“Stress can become too much and lead to other problems, said Anderson. “Stress is a risk factor for both depression and anxiety. We don’t have data on the specific causes of depression and anxiety in this sample, but it does make sense scientifically that the Millennials who report higher levels of stress in their lives are also reporting higher levels of depression and anxiety.”
Available mental health services are being used by Millenials more frequently. “There is a greater awareness of mental health services available, many more medications than there used to be for this, and perhaps more self-awareness in terms of feelings that might be receptive to some sort of treatment,” Colpe says, adding that “all those have combined to create a different picture than maybe what we’ve seen decades ago.”
Millennials ‘Chill’ to Music, Exercise, Friends and Family
Survey findings show that to cope with stress Millennials are more likely than other generations to report sedentary behaviors, such as eating (36 percent) or playing video games or surfing the Internet (41 percent). However, the most common coping mechanism is listening to music, cited by 59 percent of young adults as the best way to “chill.” 51 percent listed exercise or walking as a way they try to combat stress, about the same as the national average of 52 percent.They also showed the highest level compared to other age groups of spending time with friends and family as a way of coping with stress.