Millennials Most Stressed Generation: Previous Generations Need to Cut Us Some Slack


Ever had an older person tell you to "chill out" and stop fretting so much about the future? Well, you're far from the only one of your peers to worry all the time: a new study finds that millennials are more stressed out than any other generation.

Research done by the American Psychological Association reveals that people within the 18-33 age range are constantly plagued with anxieties, so much so that more than 50 percent reported being kept up all night due to "overwhelming worries" in the last night. So when the New York Times asks, "What Is It About 20-Somethings?", here's the answer.

Katherine Nordal, executive director of professional practice for the psychological group, said many millennials are being forced to put their lives and professional aspirations on hold due to immense debt and a struggling economy, among other things.

"Many of these young people have come out of college or graduate school with horrendous student debt into a job market where there are not very many jobs," Nordal told NBC News. "This has put their life plans, probably, on hiatus."

Part of the issue could also be that millennials are creatures of habit and like to be told how they're doing, so when they're not given ample feedback or suggestions, they worry about their performance.

"It has to do with how [millennials] were raised and coached," Lauren Stiller Rikleen, who works as executive in residence for the Boston College Center for Work & Family, told US News & World Report last year"They had a voice in family dynamics, and in school activities … They've gotten a report card in every phase of their life. In school and extracurricular activities, they were always encouraged to do more, and they received constant feedback on how they were doing."

Millennials could also be more ambitious than previous generations. Young women now have more freedom and professional opportunities than previous generations, and while this is a great development for females, it has also caused Gen-Y women to burn out before reaching the age of 30

"These women worked like crazy in school, and in college, and then they get into the workforce and they are exhausted," Melanie Shreffler of the youth marketing blog Ypulse told Forbes in fall 2011.

And with exhaustion, of course, comes stress. 

With just 62% of millennials in the workforce (and only half of those people employed full-time), it makes sense that millennials would be too high-strung to get a good night's sleep. The study reports that 40% of millennials have felt their stress-level go up in the past year, with only 33% of baby boomers and 29% of people ages 67 and up experiencing the same thing. 

So the next time someone of an older generation calls you spoiled or entitled for being concerned about not living up to your potential or having to stay at mom and dad's house as you search for a more promising employment situation, refer to this study to prove you're warranted in freaking out a little bit.