Saturday, October 17, 2009

Medill News Service Article w. Interview

Study says they're happy, but young people say they're stressed
Oct 15, 2009
Past pimples and prom, a recent study says adults 18 - 25 have the highest happiness rating.
The survey by Gallup based on more than 600,000 interviews revealed that happiness is highest among younger Americans and lowest for those in their 50s and late 80s.

Young adults may be happier because of the obligation-free days of youth, said Kathryn C. Keller, a licensed clinical social worker.

"They have a future ahead of them and nothing bad has happened," she said.

Upbringing can also play a role in the happiness, said Dr. Lisa Razzano, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"They've [parents] become more engaged," Razzano, said. "This creates positive affect, which we associate with happiness."

Even with a recession, young Americans in college can stay on the bright side, said Dr. Michael Bricker, clinical psychologist.

"Those individuals are experiencing the downturn in a different way than those who must work and provide," he said. "There's a little more freedom in youth."

Those assessments are in contrast to how some young adults feel.
"There's a lot of pressure on us," said Gevorg Azizi, 20, a DePaul junior. "Yeah we're happy and we go out, but there's also a lot of pressure, and that can lead to unhappiness and depression."

Paul Evangellu, 20, explained the pressure.

"We're in college right now during some of the worst times right now during this recession," the DePaul sophomore said. "Hopefully by the time we graduate it will be over, but right now, we can't really tell."

One psychologist expressed doubts about the study, which asked people if they had smiled, laughed or had positive feelings the previous day.

"There are two different kinds of smiles," Dr. Jay Einhorn, a clinical psychologist, said. "One that's genuine with involuntary movements, then a conscious smile that means, 'I'm not hostile and I want you to like me.'"

Nonetheless, Einhorn emphasized the importance of mental self-care with regular exercise, deep relaxation and self-observation.

"If we're more aware of ourselves, we have more psychological freedom, which allows for more behavioral choices," he said.

Related Links
Gallup polls

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