Generation-Y: most depressed generation
Published: Saturday, February 6, 2010
Updated: Saturday, February 6, 2010 00:02
Narcissistic. Over-entitled. Superficial. These terms, according to researchers and academics, serve as matching connotations for the maturing young adults of the "Generation Y" demographic cohort.
Ambiguously defined as those born since the early ‘80s, Generation Y-ers are lumped together for not only sharing the same generational time frame, but also for their mutual lifestyles dominated by materialism and prosperity.
Although considered to "have it better" than the baby boomers, the modern world might be paving the way for impaired mental health among this demographic, as a new research study indicates. A recent study published in Clinical Psychology Review, conducted by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, discovered that Gen-Y might now have more mental problems
According to TrueSlant.com which cited the study, from 1938 to 2007, the amount of depression cases has risen by five to eight times in 2007 compared to 1938. Hypomania, a form of bipolar disorder has risen by 40 percent.
The findings were derived from student responses to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which conducted the study on high school and college students. The levels are higher than those of the Great Depression era. While multiple causal variables come into play, technology may be the leading culprit.
Baruch psychology professor David Sitt acknowledges the implications of technological evolution on an entire generation's social character.
"We are changing our expectations of what we need in life to make us happy," said Sitt. "Since technology has propelled us forward it creates a speed where everything is immediate and the window for gratification has narrowed."
According to Sitt, depression grows from a root need for gratification as social networking tools and electronic gadgets instill in us a constant pressure to connect.
"Initially we only needed to see our friends once a month, now it has turned into everyday," said Sitt. "We have this idea that if we don't check our emails or post on Facebook every second then we missed out on something or that people have forgotten about us."
Additionally, technological innovations place social pressures on young people driven by overconsumption of materialism. Baruch sophomore, Robert Smith, agrees with this.
"Everyone has something: an iPod, a cell phone, a laptop, and you might want what other people have but can't buy it," said the international marketing major. "People these days are driving themselves more and more to get it."
To combat this emotional reliance on technology, Sitt proposes that we develop awareness of its power on us. "When we sit down at the dinner table as a way of connecting with our family, we know to turn our cell phones off and that is a way of being mindful of technology," he said.