A new study found that due to Gen Z mental health issues they are less successful than millennials at the same age and less likely to characterize their mental health as “excellent.”

According to Gallup and the Walton Family Foundation, 47% of Gen Z Americans are prospering in their life, which is among the lowest of all generations and far lower than millennials at the same age.

The research, issued Thursday, seeks Gen Z perspectives on important problems. In April and May, researchers polled over 3,000 12-26-year-olds.

The report recommended considering Gen Z’s viewpoints, issues, and solutions when making decisions concerning public policy, learning settings, and workplaces.

Pickets marching through downtown Philadelphia, Pa., on March 26, 1966, protesting the Vietnam War. Photo by Bill Ingraham/AP

Researchers claimed a scale quantifying success, failure, or misery is informative. If respondents rated their current and future lifestyles highly, they were considered flourishing.

The survey found that 41% of Gen Zers aged 18–26 are prospering, compared to 60% of millennials.

Remember: Generational research is contentious.

Some researchers say generation designations are detrimental and unscientific.

The Pew Research Center noted earlier this year that certain generational shifts may represent life stage and age disparities that may alter.

Research suggests Gen Z’s mental health issues are unique.

The Gallup-WFF survey found that Gen Zers are more likely to experience stress, worry, and loneliness than earlier generations.

Researchers also discovered “evidence that Gen Z’s self-reported mental health struggles are distinct from those of previous generations at the same age.” Only 15% of 18-26-year-old Gen Zers felt their mental health was outstanding.

The survey indicated a sharp decline from a decade ago, when 52% of millennials in that age group reported great mental health. In 2004, 55% of 18-26-year-olds (millennials and Gen X) claimed great mental health.

Why was the drop so large? Mental health declines during the past decade may be to blame, researchers said. The survey found that millennials and Gen X “report far lower mental health ratings” than they did a decade earlier.

Not the first study to highlight Gen Z’s mental health issues.

Earlier this year, the CDC declared poor mental health a “substantial public health problem” for teenagers, especially young females.

Gen Z believed their mental health was fair or bad more than preceding generations, according to a 2018 American Psychological Association research. The association’s CEO called the development worrying but added that it may be constructive.

“This generation may be more tuned in to recognizing mental health issues than older generations,” psychologist Arthur Evans said.

Another Gen Z trait: optimism

Gen Zers have a positive outlook on life.

Over three quarters of Gen Z believe they have a bright future, according to the survey.

“There is quite an enduring optimism in the face of mental health struggles for this generation,” the report concludes.

Despite this confidence, the survey found that less than half of Gen Z feel future-ready. 

Other findings:

Pollsters asked Gen Z about various issues. The survey examines more than mental wellness. 

53% of Gen Z students believe they can afford higher education. • 40% worry about school gun violence. • 69% of Gen Z students wish to make “enough money to live comfortably” in the future.

Researchers stated this is their first report on this nationally representative sample but won’t be the last. They will continue polling Gen Z to give policymakers with additional facts.


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