WASHINGTON – A lot of Americans lead stressful lives, but millennials are really feeling the pressure.
Young adults ages 18 to 33 comprise the most stressed age group in the country, according to a new study by the American Psychological Association.
Every year, the APA conducts a nationwide survey on stress in America, and the latest findings show millennials are more stressed than their parents or grandparents.
Katherine Nordal, APA executive director for professional practice, says millennials reported higher levels of stress than other age groups in the survey of 2,020 adults.
On a 10-point scale — with one representing “little or no stress” and 10 signifying “a great deal of stress” — millennials averaged a stress level of 5.4. Baby Boomers ages 48 to 66 averaged a stress level of 4.7, and people ages 67 and older had an average stress level of 3.7.
Nordal says that millenials don’t seem to manage stress well, noting only 29 percent of those surveyed felt they were doing a “very good job,” and many are not satisfied with the level of support available from the health care system.
She adds that millennials came of age at a time of economic uncertainty. Many attended college to get a good job and graduated with a lot of student debt, few job prospects and dreams deferred.
“It’s kind of a catch 22 for them,” she says. “They are frustrated, I would imagine, at not being able to move on.”
Gregory Jones, a psychologist with District Psychotherapy Associates in D.C., says he has treated more stressed millennials in recent years. He points to technology, a “hurried pace of life” and a desire to get ahead in careers as some causes of stress.
“The anxiety that young people experience in trying to succeed to just get a minimal raise, if any at all, is causing high levels of stress, longer working hours and poor self-care,” he says. “This all results in increased levels of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders.”
The 2012 Stress in America survey found stress is impacting every part of the country. The APA says stress levels in the D.C. area are no better or worse than the rest of the nation, but people in the region seem to be doing a better job of managing pressure.
The online survey was conducted in August, and the APA has been commissioning annual checks on the nation’s stress levels since 2007.