It’s very likely that if you’re reading this article you’re a college student or twenty-something who’s extremely stressed out about your future. Well, at least you can take some solace in the fact that you’re not alone on this front.
Yesterday the American Psychological Association released the results for a study they conducted on stress levels for each generation, determining that Millennials – Americans aged 18-29 – are far more stressed out than their elders. According to the study, the average stress level for a Millennial was a 5.4 on a 10-point scale, where one means “little or no stress” and 10 means “a great deal of stress.” The average stress level for all adults combined was 4.9, which is lower than it had been in the past.
The study also found that Millennials are more likely to suffer from anxiety and/or depression than older generations are. Nearly one in five Millennials has been clinically diagnosed with depression and 12 percent of young Americans have been diagnosed with an anxiety-related disorder. On the contrary, the older you get the less likely you are to suffer from anxiety or depression.
So why are Millennials more stressed out than their elders? The most common factors that result in their stress are work and money, which often go together in today’s weak economy.
Unemployment among Millennials continues to skyrocket, and over the past few years it has been at its highest levels since the end of World War II. At the same time young Americans today are applying for larger loans than ever before, which has resulted in the number of Millennials defaulting on their loans reaching an all-time high.
According to Mike Hais, a market researcher and co-author of two books on Millennials, it is not so much the generation’s fault, as he believes that they are the victims of a bad set of circumstances, including the 2008 financial collapse.
“Millennials are growing up at a tough time,” Hais told USA Today. “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.”