Stress and Generations
Even though trends showed that
Gen Xers reported stress levels are
on the decline, they are more likely
to report experiencing stress-related
physical and emotional symptoms over
the past month (in most cases).
Americans of all ages* experience stress and its physical consequences. However, there are marked
differences between the generations in terms of how stressed people say they are, as well as the
causes, symptoms and methods for managing that stress. Those over the age of 65 report the
lowest stress levels and are most likely to say they are managing that stress well, while Gen Xers are
most likely to report physical symptoms of stress and are more likely to say they rely on unhealthy
behaviors to manage their stress.
One thing all of the generations have in common? Financial concerns. Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers are more
likely to cite money as a significant source of stress than other sources of stress, and for Matures the most commonly
cited stressor is the economy.
Stress Across the Ages
• Matures report an average stress level of 4.4 on a 10-point scale, much lower than the nationally reported average of
5.4, but they feel that a healthy level of stress would be 3.4. Gen Xers report an average stress level of 5.8 but feel that
a healthy level of stress would be a 3.8.
• The economy is the most commonly reported significant source of stress for Matures (69 percent of Matures).
However, Matures are significantly more likely than the general population to say that their stress has decreased over
the past five years (46 percent vs. 25 percent of the general population).
• Matures are more likely to say they are doing enough to manage their stress (70 percent), compared to Millennials
(50 percent), Gen Xers (52 percent) and Boomers (53 percent).
• While Gen Xers still report the highest average levels of stress of any generation, trends indicate that they believe
they have gotten better at managing their stress — 52 percent of Gen Xers reported that they are doing enough to
manage their stress in 2010 compared with 48 percent in 2009 and 45 percent in 2008. During this same time period,
StreSS and GenerationS
*the four generations are defined as the following: Millennials (19 – 31 year-olds), Gen X (32 – 45 year-olds), Boomers (46 – 64 year-olds) and Matures (65 years and older). this section
of the report primarily focuses on Millennials (2007 n=294; 2008 n=406; 2009 n=504; 2010 n=268), Gen Xers (2007 n=426; 2008 n=478; 2009 n=369; 2010 n=293), Boomers (2007 n=743;
2008 n=651; 2009 n=464; 2010 n=396) and Matures (2007 n=385; 2008 n=256; 2009 n=231; 2010 n=177) within the general population (2007 n=1,848; 2008 n=1,791; 2009 n=1,568; 2010 n=1,134).StreSS and GenerationS
For full methodology, visit www.stressinamerica.org
trends also show that Gen Xers reported stress levels
are on the decline, falling from an average stress level
of 6.5 on a 10-point scale in 2008 to a 5.8 in 2010.
• In almost all areas, Gen Xers are more likely to report
experiencing the following stress-related physical and
emotional symptoms over the past month:
□ More than half (56 percent) of Gen Xers said that
they were irritable or angry as a result of stress
compared with 30 percent of Matures, 47 percent
of Boomers and 43 percent of Millennials.
□ Nearly half (47 percent) of Gen Xers said that they
experienced fatigue as a result of stress compared
with 34 percent of Matures, 44 percent of Boomers
and 37 percent of Millennials.
□ Nearly half (46 percent) of Gen Xers said that they
had headaches as a result of stress compared with
22 percent of Matures, 35 percent of Boomers and
36 percent of Millennials.
□ Millennials were most likely to report a change in
appetite as a result of stress (27 percent compared
with 7 percent of Matures, 21 percent of Boomers,
and 22 percent of Gen Xers).
You can read the rest of this article here: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/stress-generations.pdf
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