24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Too Much Smartphone Time May Invite Host of Health WoesThe Happiness Dividend: Longer, Healthier LivesSummer Can Be Hard on Your HearingJust 300 Fewer Calories a Day Brings a Health BenefitCan a Budget Make You Happier?Sleep : The Right Prescription for Your HealthIs Your Mattress Releasing Toxins While You Sleep?Ageism Disappears When Young and Old Spend Time TogetherHow Protect Against Short- and Long-Term Sun DamageHealth Tip: Wear Sunglasses With UV ProtectionHow Are You Feeling? Check Your WristbandSelfie Craze Has Young Americans Viewing Plastic Surgery More Favorably: StudyWhat Are the Most Dangerous Food Groups?How to Move Past Life's Inevitable Speed BumpsTV Watching May Be Most Unhealthy Type of Sitting: StudyJust How Harmful Is TV for Your Health?How Does Your Diet Stack Up?The Health Benefits of Sleeping on Your SideHow Much Work Brings Happiness? Not Much, Study Shows2 Hours/Week in Nature: Your Prescription for Better Health?Eating More Red Meat May Shorten Your LifeScared Safe: Pics of Sun's Damage to Face Boost Sunscreen UseFoods May Taste Better If You're SittingShould Air Quality Checks Be Part of Your Travel Planning?Guard Your Skin Against the Summer SunGetting Your Nutrients: From the Source or Supplements?Human Endurance May Have Its Limits: StudyThe Dangers of Being a People-PleaserFinancial Disaster May Prompt Self-Destructive BehaviorHow Much Coffee Is Too Much?Do You Really Need 10,000 Steps a Day?Worry Less for Better HealthCan the Bacteria in Your Belly Ease Your Worrying Mind?AHA News: Need a Break? A Vacation Really Can Be Good for You -- If It's Done RightHealthy Food May Boost MoodAre DIY Sunscreens Dangerous?Millennials Believe 'Narcissist' Label, But Don't Like ItMore Back-to-Back Heat Waves Will Come With Climate ChangeBody Adapts, Recovers From Occasional 'Pigging Out,' Study FindsCBD -- It's Everywhere, But Does It Work?Stay Safe While Spring CleaningCover Up! Don't Soak Up Those Sun RaysWant to Save Money While Shopping? Leave Your Phone HomeThree Ways to Improve Focus and ConcentrationSunscreen Chemicals Enter Bloodstream at Potentially Unsafe Levels: StudyCould You Be Short on Vitamin B12?How to Tame Morning ChaosTailoring Exercise to Your AgeSchool Bullying's Impact Can Last a Lifetime: StudyWellness Programs Take Hold in American Workplaces
Links
Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

Many 'Gen Xers' Desolate as They Navigate Adulthood: Study

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Apr 23rd 2019

new article illustration

MONDAY, April 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Despair runs rampant through Generation X as these Americans struggle through middle age, a new study reports.

So-called indicators of despair -- depression, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse -- are rising among those in their late 30s and early 40s, and it's occurring across-the-board, researchers say.

"These are getting worse as people age through their 30s," said lead researcher Lauren Gaydosh, an assistant professor with the Vanderbilt University Center for Medicine, Health and Society. "For example, heavy drinking is really peaking again, almost to levels equivalent to where they were at college age."

Previous studies have drawn attention to these "deaths of despair," but initially it appeared they were occurring mainly among poorly educated whites, Gaydosh said.

These new findings indicate that despair is pervasive throughout Generation X, affecting people regardless of their race, background or family income.

"Mortality, particularly for middle-aged people 45 to 54, has actually been increasing for the past several decades," Gaydosh said. "The fact that indicators of despair are more generalized is concerning. It could mean these increases in mortality might spread more broadly, across all demographic groups."

Gaydosh and her colleagues tracked despair indicators among a group of people who were in grades 7 through 12 in 1994-1995, which places them among the youngest members of Generation X.

Gen X is considered to consist of people born from the early-to-mid 1960s through the early 1980s; this study focused on people born between 1974 and 1983.

The investigators found that suicidal thoughts, symptoms of depression, marijuana use and heavy drinking all increased as these people aged into their late 30s.

Despair increased among those in their 30s across the country, and there was no evidence that only low-education whites were struggling with despair.

Patterns of drinking, drug use and depression varied across races and education levels. For example, whites were more likely to binge drink in adolescence, while Hispanics and blacks of all ages were more likely to report depressive symptoms.

But, overall, the trends were broadly the same across Generation X, researchers reported.

According to Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, at Yale University, "This report of rising despair and risky behavior pervasively among adults approaching midlife is deeply disturbing. Despair is corrosive to all aspects of health, in our individual bodies and in the body politic alike."

There are a couple of possible reasons for this despair, Gaydosh said.

It could be that Gen X has simply entered a phase of life that's more challenging for anyone at that age.

"In this stage of the life course, people are in the midst of very intense family, work and social situations," Gaydosh said. Their kids are graduating high school and entering college, and these middle-aged folks are reconsidering their lives.

On the other hand, Generation X might be reflecting overall societal trends that have led Americans to feel hopeless and helpless.

These include the erosion of the middle class, declines in traditional family structures and social cohesion, and the highly acidic level of national politics, Gaydosh said.

Katz points to societal trends as a more likely cause.

"My list includes divisive politics, the elevation of racism and xenophobia, the ever-widening disparities our culture propagates, and of course the truly ominous implications of climate change hanging over all of our hopes for the future," Katz said.

Gaydosh said that small-scale efforts to combat the symptoms of despair, such as alcohol treatment programs, may not be enough.

"From what I've learned, it seems when you address one symptom, these underlying causes manifest themselves in other ways," Gaydosh said. "Addressing the underlying structural causes is really the only way to improve the health of all Americans. Otherwise, it's like a game of whack-a-mole."

The new study was published in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

More information

The Brookings Institution has more about mortality trends in the United States.