Middle-aged people are suffering almost 20 per cent more stress than they were two decades ago, researchers have discovered.
The root of the problem lies in the 'generational squeeze' of having dependent parents on one side and grown-up children struggling to start a career on the other.
This adds up to the equivalent of an extra eleven weeks of anxiety a year, when compared to what their mums and dads went through in the 1990s.
Furthermore, this pressure does not even include the stress-inducing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic that has been sweeping the globe.
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Middle-aged people are suffering almost 20 per cent more stress than they were two decades ago, researchers have discovered (stock image)
'We thought with the economic uncertainty, life might be more stressful for younger adults,' said paper author and psychologist David Almeida of Penn State University.
'But we didn't see that. We saw more stress for people at mid-life.'
'Maybe that's because they have children who are facing an uncertain job market while they are also responsible for their own parents.'
'So it's this generational squeeze that's making stress more prevalent for people at mid-life.'
The team's analysis showed that study participants reported significantly more daily stress and lower well-being in the 2010s compared to the 1990s.
Furthermore, they reported a 27 and 17 per cent increase, respectively, in the belief that their stress would affect their finances and future plans.
Professor Almeida and his team found that daily stress levels had risen slightly across all age groups when comparing the 1990s with the last decade.
However, when they analysed participants between 45 and 64 years old in particular, they instead found a sharp increase.
'On average, people reported about two per cent more stressors in the 2010s compared to people in the past. That's around an additional week of stress a year,' said Prof Almeida.
'But what really surprised us is that people at mid-life reported a lot more stressors — about 19 per cent more stress in 2010 than in 1990. '
'That translates to 64 more days of stress a year,' he added.
The researchers said that there used to be a stereotype about people experiencing a mid-life crisis because of a fear of death and getting older — however, the team's findings suggest such might be rooted in different causes.
Professor Almeida and his team found that daily stress levels had risen slightly across all age groups when comparing the 1990s with the last