Stress from COVID-19 pandemic causing millennials to struggle with decision-making: survey

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Stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for Americans to make basic decisions, according to a survey. 

According to an American Psychological Association survey of “Stress in America,” millennials were particularly affected, with nearly 50% of more than 3,000 adult respondents reporting that they are struggling with daily tasks as coronavirus continues to spread. 

Comparatively, only 37% of Gen Z, 32% of Gen X, 14% of boomers and 3% of older adults reported the same.

Nearly a third of adults who took the online August/COVID Resilience Survey conducted by The Harris Poll said sometimes they are so stressed about the pandemic that they struggle to make basic decisions and more than a third of them said it has been more stressful to make day-to-day decisions and major life decisions in comparison to life before the pandemic.

Younger adults were more likely to feel the decisions are more stressful now and more than 60% agreed that the pandemic has made them rethink how they were living their life. 

Sixty-three percent said uncertainty about the near future causes them stress and around half said the pandemic had made planning for the future feel impossible.

“When it comes to overall stress, it is not surprising to find that younger generations, who were more likely to say they struggle with basic decisions, also reported generally high stress levels,” the survey said. 

Gen Z adults, millennials and Gen Xers reported higher average stress levels over the past month related to the pandemic than boomers and older adults, and around half of Gen Z adults and millennials admitted that they do not know how to manage the stress they feel due to the pandemic.

Decision-making fatigue is having a disproportionate impact on parents – especially those with younger children.

Additionally, pandemic stress among people of color is still elevated, especially for Hispanic and Black adults. 

Hispanic adults reported the highest levels of stress, on average, over the past month related to the pandemic and the survey said those conclusions were “not surprising, considering findings from the survey that shine a light on racial and ethnic disparities in relation to the impact of the pandemic.”

“Specifically, Hispanic adults were more likely than non-Hispanic White adults to know someone who had been sick with or died of COVID-19,” the survey noted. 

Stress levels remain higher than pre-pandemic levels and work- and housing costs-related stress slightly increased from last year, although there was a significant downward trend across most factors in the same time frame.

As a result of all of this stress, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults said they have experienced various health impacts like headaches, feeling overwhelmed. fatigue and changes in sleeping habits.

Eighty-six percent of millennials reported impacts of stress, closely followed by 84% of Gen Z adults and 77% of Gen Xers. Less than 60% of boomers and older adults said the same.

Behavioral changes were also reported as a result of stress, including avoiding social situations, altering eating habits, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, or altering physical activity levels.

More than one-third said they stress ate during the first year of the pandemic.

Lastly, over half of U.S. adults said they were struggling with the pandemic’s ups and downs, with most having average resilience scores and just 16% having high resilience scores.

Nevertheless, overall, the survey found that stress levels are holding steady and that U.S. adults retain a positive outlook. 

Seventy percent were confident that everything would work out at the pandemic’s conclusion and 77% said they were generally faring well.

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