Americans aged between 18 to 23, also known as adult Gen Z, are reporting the highest stress levels of any generation in the country, according to a poll.
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in American 2020 report revealed that, on average, Gen Z adults scored their stress levels in the past month as 6.1 out of 10, with 10 being the highest level. The average across all adults was 5.
The survey conducted between August 4 and 26, 2020, by The Harris Poll for the APA, involved 3,409 over-18s living in the U.S. Almost a fifth (19 percent) said their mental health was worse than during the same period last year, at 34 percent of Gen Z adults; 21 percent of Gen Xers aged 42 to 55; 19 percent millennials aged 24 to 41; 12 percent of Boomers, aged 56 to 74, and 8 percent of those aged 75 and above.
Gen Z adults were also more likely to say they were experiencing common symptoms of depression. Three-quarters said they felt so tired in the past two weeks that they “sat around and did nothing,” 74 percent were restless; 73 percent struggled to think properly or concentrate; and the same percentage felt lonely. Some 71 percent felt miserable or unhappy.
Some 81 percent of 13-to-17-year-olds, who are also counted as Gen Zers, said they had suffered negative consequences from school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over half (51 percent) said the pandemic has made it feel like planning for the future is impossible, with 67 percent of Gen Z adults feeling the same. Some 87 percent of Gen Z adults who were at college said education is a significant source of stress in their lives.
The poll also revealed 78 percent of Americans felt the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant source of stress in their lives. A further 60 percent said the number of issues America is dealing with was overwhelming. The poll was carried out in a year marked by stressors including a presidential election, protests against racial injustice, an economic recession, and over 220,000 people dying of COVID-19 in the U.S.
Arthur Evans, the CEO of the APA, told Newsweek via email that older people have typically reported less stress than younger generations since the organization carried out its first Stress in America report in 2007. This is likely because people gain life experience, coping skills and resilience as they age, he said.
“For 18-to-23-year-olds, they are just embarking on adulthood—learning to live independently, to manage their finances and to hit milestones like graduating high school or college, having new relationships and getting their first jobs. These events have always been stressful for some, but the new reality of the pandemic means that uncertainty is amplified