Pulse May / June 2022 | Page 68



Stress is Sticking Around

SINCE THE START OF 2022 , many countries around the world have slowly , steadily rolled back protective measures related to the pandemic . COVID-19 is by no means entirely in the rearview mirror , of course , but with each rescinded mask mandate and every report of falling case numbers , more weight is lifted from the collective shoulders of a weary population .
But new data from research firm McKinsey & Co . and the American Psychological Association ( APA ) suggests that other factors — as well as the lingering effects of the pandemic — have created additional stresses that are affecting behavioral health and work performance , especially among millennials and Gen Z . Given the recent sharp rise in inflation , it ’ s unsurprising that money is now a source of stress for more Americans than at any point since 2015 . The APA reports that almost two-thirds of those surveyed ( 65 per-
cent ) indicated money and the economy as a “ significant source of stress ” in March of 2022 .
Though younger generations are not alone in feeling stressed over financial concerns , millennials and Gen Z are the groups feeling the most stress related to money , the economy and housing . More than eight in ten respondents aged 18 – 25 ( 82 percent ) said that money is a significant source of stress , while roughly the same number of those aged 26-43 ( 81 percent ) agreed . The latter group also reported the highest levels of stress related to the economy ( 76 percent ) and housing ( 68 percent ).
All this stress is having significant effects on behavior . More than half ( 58 percent ) of those surveyed by the APA reported undesired weight changes during the pandemic , and nearly a quarter ( 23 percent ) reported drinking more alcohol to cope with stress . In a separate
survey , two-thirds of employees indicated that poor mental health has undercut their job performance and 40 percent said that they are battling burnout . Overall , the APA reports that 71 percent of employees typically feel tense or stressed out during the workday and that those employees are three times as likely to say they intend to seek other employment in the next year .
According to McKinsey , the mental health effects of these stressors are most prevalent among Gen Z . In their sample , Gen Z respondents were more likely to report having been diagnosed with a behavioral-health condition — for example a substance use or mental disorder — and were two to three times more likely than other generations to report thinking about , planning or attempting suicide . Importantly , Gen Zers were the group most likely not to seek treatment for these issues , which only increases their vulnerability .

Stress about money is the highest recorded since 2015

FEBRUARY 2022 • 65 %
JUNE 2021 • 61 %
FEBRUARY 2021 • 57 %
50 PULSE • MAY / JUNE 2022