Ask Dr. Joy: the impact of stress on Americans by generation

By WEEK Producer

June 19, 2013 Updated Jun 19, 2013 at 9:41 PM CDT

The American Psychological Association has completed an extensive study on “Stress in America.” The results might be surprising to many readers as it relates to the differences between the generations.

There are some differences between age brackets and their stress levels. On a 10 point scale here are how the age levels rank related to stress.

Levels of Stress within the Generations:

* 5.4 on a 10 point stress rating is reported by Millennials (age 18-33)
* 5.4 on a rating scale is reported by GenXers (age 34-47)
* 4.7 rating for Baby Boomers (age 48-66)
* 3.7 rate for Mature citizens (age 67 and higher)

What else do we know about the study related to age brackets?

* Millennials and GenExers report high stress with job stability, work issues and money.
* Matures and Boomers say their issues center around health.
* 52 percent of Millennials report that their daily stress keeps them awake at night.
* 48 percent of GenXers report that their stress levels keep them from sleeping.
* Compare those numbers to Mature citizens reporting only 25 percent of sleep disturbances and 37 percent for Baby Boomers.

It sounds like the younger generation is struggling with stress. What else do we know about this population?

* Only 25 percent of this population say they are coping well.
* Millennials and GenExers report they are dealing with stress by overeating, excessive drinking and smoking more than other populations.
* This population tends to use shopping for coping and turn less to religion and stress management techniques.

So we have learned so far that Americans are stressed, women are doing a poorer job of stress management and our younger population is highly stressed. Next week we will look at regional trends before we talk about stress tips for everyone.

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