Generation Z Is Massively Stressed Out

By Beth Leipholtz 11/01/18

Generation Z is also the most likely to report mental health conditions, according to a new survey. 

group of teenage boys and girls

Issues such as gun violence, sexual assault and immigration are contributing to high levels of stress in Generation Z, according to new data. 

According to the American Psychological Association's annual Stress in America survey, Generation Z (those ages 15 to 21) has become more politically active this year and that the condition of the country is contributing to their stress levels. 

The survey included data from 3,458 individuals 18 and older, as well as interviews with 300 teenagers ages 15 to 17. The purpose of the survey is to measure “attitudes and perception of stress to identify the leading sources of stress among the general public.”

One of the main areas of concern among the younger generation was safety in schools. According to the survey, about 75% of Generation Z say that mass shootings contribute to their stress levels, and 72% said the same of school shootings specifically.

The survey also found that about 74% of parents are concerned about the possibility of a school shooting. 

In comparison, the survey found that 69% of millennials stress about mass shootings and 73% about school shootings. For Generation X and Baby Boomers, that decreased to about 58% for each. 

"The pressures facing Generation Z are different from those that faced older generations at the same age. For example, mass shootings simply did not happen with the same scale and frequency when I was in school," Arthur Evans, a psychologist and CEO of the American Psychological Association (APA), told CNN.

According to APA spokeswoman Sophie Bethune, this is the 12th year that the APA has conducted this survey, but the first year it has asked participants about gun violence. 

The survey also asked about issues such as immigration, climate change, rising suicide rates and reports of sexual harassment or abuse, CNN reports. 

In doing so, it found that 68% of people between 18 and 21 were concerned about the state of the country, yet only 54% said they would be voting in November, which is well below the average of 70% across generations. 

When it came to other issues, 57% of Generation Z considered separation and deportation of immigrant families to contribute to their stress levels, whereas only 45% of adults as a whole did. Similarly, 53% of Gen Z considered sexual harassment or abuse a stressor, compared to 39% of overall adults.  

Evans says these differences have to do with the development of the brain and how it processes stress.

However, there were some positive findings when it came to Generation Z. According to survey findings, members of this generation were more likely to report mental health conditions and more likely to speak out about challenges. 

As a whole, the survey found that 75% of participants reported feeling hopeful about their future.

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.