"Don't Stress" Seems To Be The Mature Counsel

The recent Stress in America survey, from the American Psychological Association PA, shows that, across generations, younger Americans report experiencing the most stress and the least relief, reporting higher stress levels than older generations and say they are not managing it well. All generations say they experience stress at levels higher than they believe is healthy, but Matures are closest to bringing their stress levels in line with their definition of a healthy stress level. Stress has increased for a considerable number of Americans, regardless of age.

The difference between Matures’ stress levels and their perception of healthy stress is 0.7 points, compared with 1.4 points for Millennials, 1.6 points for Gen Xers and 1.3 points for Boomers. 39% of Millennials say their stress has increased in the last year, compared to 36% of Gen Xers, 33% of Boomers and 29% of Matures.

Average Stress Level Comparison To Healthy Level (1= No Stress; 10= High Level)

Generation

Personal Stress Assessment (Previous Month)

Perceived Healthy Stress Level

Millennial

5.4

4.0

Gen X

5.4

3.8

Boomer

4.7

3.4

Mature

3.7

3.0

Source: APA, February 2012 (On a scale of 1-10)

Millennials and Gen Xers are most likely to say that they are stressed by work, money and job stability, while Boomers and Matures are more likely to be concerned with health issues affecting their families and themselves.

Work is a somewhat or significant stressor for 76% of Millennials, 65% of Gen Xers, 62% of Boomers and just 39% of Matures. This may be because a lower proportion of Matures are working (8% are employed full-time, compared with 39% of Boomers, 59% of Gen Xers and 33% of Millennials). However, job stability is a source of stress for slightly more Gen Xers than Millennials (60% vs. 53%).

Personal health concerns are reported most often by Matures as a source of stress (61% vs. 51% for Millennials and Boomers and 46% for Gen Xers). However, significantly more Boomers report that health problems affecting their families are sources of stress

Each generation experiences negative consequences of stress, but Millennials and Gen Xers are most likely to say that they engage in unhealthy behaviors because of stress and experience symptoms of stress:

  • 52% of Millennials report having lain awake at night in the past month due to stress, compared to 48% of Gen Xers, 37% of Boomers and 25% of Matures
  • 44% of both Millennials and Gen Xers report experiencing irritability or anger due to stress, compared to 36% of Boomers and 15% of Matures

Given their higher-than-average stress levels, says the report, Millennials and Gen Xers have made it a goal to reduce their stress. But both are falling short in their ability to manage stress well. In the last five years, 62% of Millennials and 63% of Gen Xers have tried to reduce their stress, compared with 59% of Boomers and 50% of Matures.

While the generations agree that managing stress is extremely or very important, the ability to meet stress management goals seems to come with age, says the report. Only 29% of Millennials, 35% of Gen Xers and 38% of Boomers say they are doing an excellent or very good job of managing their stress, compared with 50% of Matures. In fact, since 2010, the percentage of Millennials who have said they are doing a good job at stress management has decreased.

How Generations Manage Stress (% of Respondents by Category)

Stress Management

Millennial

Gen X

Boomer

Mature

Exercise or walk

51%

42%

57%

38%

Listen to music

59

50

46

29

Read

38

40

42

35

Spend time with friends or family

46

38

35

37

Eat

36

25

19

23

Go to church or religious service

16

19

23

32

Drink alcohol

15

18

12

4

Shop

19

13

10

6

Smoke

12

14

10

7

Source: APA, February 2012

Even though the preferred stress management technique across generations is exercising or walking, younger Americans are more likely than Boomers and Matures to engage in unhealthy behaviors like eating, drinking alcohol and smoking to manage stress.

For additional information please visit the APA here.

 

 

 

Tags: research
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1 comment about ""Don't Stress" Seems To Be The Mature Counsel".
  1. Ngoc T from Iowa , March 5, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.
    Excellent summary, Jack. Thank you!