The APA's latest "Stress in America" report revealed some interesting tidbits about how stress impacts generations differently. The survey found that Millennials reported the greatest increase in stress levels, with 52 percent stating that their stress levels have increased over the past five years. Older adults reported the lowest increase in stress levels; 32 percent reported that their stress levels have stayed the same and 31 percent stated that their stress levels have actually decreased over the past five years.
Not surprisingly, the sources of stress also varied based on age. Money, work, and housing costs were the three greatest sources of stress for Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers. Among older adults, health problems were one of the greatest sources of stress. The poll indicated that the ability to manage stress levels tends to improve with age. Older generations reported being more open about discussing their feelings and were more flexible about compromising and adjusting their expectations. Younger generations, on the other hand, were twice as likely to report that they did not use any stress coping strategies.
"America has a choice. We can continue down a well-worn path where stress significantly impacts our physical and mental health, causes undue suffering and drives up health care costs. Or we can get serious about this major public health issue and provide better access to behavioral health care services to help people more effectively manage their stress and prevent and manage chronic disease," suggested psychologist Norman B. Anderson, PhD, the APA's CEO and executive vice president in a press release about the report. "Various studies have shown that chronic stress is a major driver of chronic illness, which in turn is a major driver of escalating health care costs in this country. It is critical that the entire health community and policymakers recognize the role of stress and unhealthy behaviors in causing and exacerbating chronic health conditions, and support models of care that help people make positive changes."
Image by Alan Cleaver