The American Psychological Association (APA) has conducted an annual survey of stress among Americans for the past 12 years. For their 2018 survey, they focused heavily on stress in members of Generation Z, which is made up of young people aged 15 to 21 (or those born around the year 2000). Gen Z is a unique group, as they are the first generation to deal heavily with certain stressors, like social media, school shootings, and immigration issues.
Results of the survey indicate safety is a major stressor for Gen Zs. Of all age categories (including Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials), Gen Zs were most likely to be impacted by school shootings or the threat to their safety in schools. Interestingly, increasing school security and safety measures did not have a significant impact on reducing this stress.
Members of Gen Z also reported stress about issues in the news, including the current political climate, separation and deportation of immigrants, and increased attention to sexual harassment and assault. These issues impacted Gen Zs more than other generations. Positively, despite these stressors, 71% of Gen Zs said they feel hopeful about their future, and 60% have taken action in the past year to help improve these social issues.
Work and money issues also caused more stress among Gen Zs than other age groups. Personal debt, housing instability, and access to food were among specific stressors in this category.
Of the different generations, Gen Zs were more likely to report mental health issues related to stress. Approximately 90% of Gen Zs in this survey acknowledged having a least one symptom related to stress in the previous month, such as feeling sad or depressed, having a loss of interest or energy, or feeling nervous or anxious. Consequently, Gen Zs are the group most likely to have received mental health treatment. Despite the potential mental health care, many Gen Zs felt they had not received adequate emotional support in the past year. While social media provided some source of support, Gen Zs also felt bad or judged on these platforms.