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Gen Z is stressed out. That’s not just an opinion or casual observation. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) Stress in America survey, more than one-third of young adults ages 18 to 23 — the older members of Gen Z — said that their mental health was worse at the end of 2020 than at the same time in 2019. That’s a higher number than any other age group.
Why did the social disruptions — quarantines, lockdowns, masking, social distancing, etc. — of 2020 hit young adults so hard and why is the pandemic’s effects on teen stress appear to be more mixed?
Emma Adam, PhD, in an interview for the APA podcast, discusses these questions and more. In regard to the results of the survey, Adam says “We’ve known for many years that stress and depression and anxiety have been increasing in adolescents and so we were expecting to see that continue into 2020… The surprise was the size of the jump and particularly for the Gen Z young adults.”
Are there signs that a teen or young adult may be experiencing an unusual amount of stress? Absolutely — disconnecting from contact with friends, even if it’s virtual, is one sign. More importantly, there are ways to lower a young adult’s stress level. One contributor to stress is lack of sleep, so lowering stress may be as simple as increasing the amount and quality of rest. Another way to lower stress is through meditation. In fact, recent studies have shown that teens who meditate lower their blood pressure significantly.
There are other factors that have an effect on stress in Gen Z. You may see a full discussion of those factors, or listen to the podcast with Emma Adam, here.