The Sad Generation? Study Finds Millennials Are Stressed Out And Depressed
Work, money and relationships are stressing out millennials so much that many of them are suffering from depression, according to a new study. While rates are falling for the rest of Americans, the Millennial generation, ages 18 to 33, are reporting more stress, depression and anxiety.
An online “Stress in America” survey of 2,020 U.S. adults 18 and older conducted in 2012 by Harris Interactive for American Psychological Association found that millennials are also more likely to be told by a health care provider they have depression or an anxiety disorder. In the survey, 39 percent of millennials said their stress level increased in the past year and 52 percent say stress has kept them awake at night in the past month. “On a 10-point scale, where 1 means ‘little or no stress’ and 10 means ‘a great deal of stress,’ the 2012 average is 4.9. But for millennials, it’s 5.4,” reports USA Today. Top stress sources for millennials are work (cited by 76 percent), money (73 percent) and relationships (59 percent), family responsibilities (56 percent) and the economy (55 percent).
“Millennials 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,” Mike Hais of Arcadia, CA, a market researcher and co-author of two books on that generation, including 2011’s Millennial Momentum, told USA Today. “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,” he says.
Depression has been diagnosed for 19 percent of millennials, compared with 14 percent of Generation X (ages 34 to 47); 12 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 48 to 66) and 11 percent of those ages 67 and older. Anxiety disorder has also been cited in millennials more than other generations, 12 percent, compared with eight percent of Gen X, seven percent of Boomers and four percent of seniors.
Millennials often try to cope with stress on their own, with more than a third saying they eat, play video games, or surf the Web. “But the most common coping mechanism is listening to music, cited by 59% of young adults; 51% exercise or walk, about the same as the national average (52%),” reports the newspaper.