Stress by Generation

Stress at any age is still stress

Stress LevelsWhile Millennials (ages 18 to 33) and Gen Xers (ages 34 to 47) report the highest average stress levels, Boomers (48 to 66) and Matures (67 years and older) join them in reporting levels that are higher than they consider healthy. Stress has also increased for a considerable number of Americans, regardless of age.

Across generations*, Stress in America™ survey findings show that our ability to manage stress and achieve healthy lifestyles varies by age. Younger Americans report experiencing the most stress and the least relief —they report higher stress levels than older generations and say they are not managing it well.

Both Millennials and Gen Xers report an average stress level of 5.4 on a 10-point scale where 1 is “little or no stress” and 10 is “a great deal of stress,” far higher than Boomers’ average stress level of 4.7 and Matures’ average stress level of 3.7.

All generations say they experience stress at levels higher than they believe is healthy, but Matures are closest to bringing their stress levels in line with their definition of a healthy stress level. The difference between Matures’ stress levels and their perception of healthy stress is 0.7 points, compared with 1.4 points for Millennials, 1.6 points for Gen Xers and 1.3 points for Boomers.

Thirty-nine percent of Millennials say their stress has increased in the last year, compared to 36 percent of Gen Xers, 33 percent of Boomers and 29 percent of Matures.


*The four generations are defined as the following: Millennials (18- to 33-year-olds), Gen Xers (34- to 47-year-olds), Boomers (48- to 66-year-olds) and Matures (67 years and older). This section of the report primarily focuses on Millennials (2007 n=294; 2008 n=406; 2009 n=504; 2010 n=268; 2011 n=420; 2012 n=340), Gen Xers (2007 n=426; 2008 n=478; 2009 n=369; 2010 n=293; 2011 n=274; 2012 n=397), Boomers (2007 n=743; 2008 n=651; 2009 n=464; 2010 n=396; 2011 n=361; 2012 n=1040) and Matures (2007 n=385; 2008 n=256; 2009 n=231; 2010 n=177; 2011 n=171; 2012 n=243) within the general population (2007 n=1848; 2008 n=1791; 2009 n=1568; 2010 n=1134; 2011 n=1226; 2012 n=2020).
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