Millennials Are Depressed Because of Student Debt and Poor Job Prospects Research Paper

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Millennials are Depressed because of Student Debt and Poor Job Prospects


Depression among Millennials and Baby Boomers is not the same: it has been found to be more severe among the younger generation than among the older generation, for various reasons. Some of those reasons include economic instability, fear of joblessness, debt concerns, and too much time involved with electronics and digital media to the point where it interferes with the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle (Brown, Richman & Rospenda, 2016). This paper looks at the generational differences and the social interaction challenges that occur among these two generational groups and how these factors play a part in the different levels of depression.

Generational Differences

Brown et al. (2016) found “that the associations between economic stressors and symptoms of both depression and anxiety were significantly greater for members of the millennial cohort compared with baby boomers” (p. 267). Millennials in other words face a more challenging task of overcoming depression caused by economic and financial insecurity than their grandparents, the Baby Boomer generation, experienced (Accius & Yeh, 2017). One explanation for this is that the Boomer generation experienced solid job growth and could go to college when it was still relatively affordable. Today’s Millennials do not have the same job prospects as many jobs have been offshored and college has become an albatross around the necks of many students whose hope for relief is in student loan forgiveness promises made by politicians . The generational experience of the two cohorts has simply been exceedingly different. Baby Boomers enjoyed relatively easy access to credit and high interest rates, which gave them more incentive to save their earnings. Today’s interest rates are near zero and thus Millennials face the risk of investing in equities to see any positive return on savings. It is not a stable way to approach finances. Thus, it should be no surprise that Millennials are more depressed as a result of economic stressors than Baby Boomers, as Brown et al. (2016) point out. Boomers are still in the workplace holding onto the upper level executive positions, while Millennials are energetic and eager to climb up and make their way in the world. They find, however, that the older generation continues to be in their way and it frustrates them and increases their sense of conflict with the older generation as well as their sense of depression of despair (Cannon & Kendig, 2018).

Twenge, Cooper, Joiner, Duffy and Binau (2019) point out that the problem is serious among Millennials: rates of depression are up more than 50% over the past 15 years among this cohort, signaling that the Millennial generation is deeply worried and troubled over something. Economic factors may be just one part of the problem. There may be additional factors causing Millennials to be so severely depressed, anxious, and potentially suicidal. Some possible factors that Twenge et al. (2019) highlight is the “rise of electronic communication and digital…

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…view of the social stability that marriage affords (Arocho & Kamp Dush, 2017). They were not given an example of why marriage matters, what marriage offers, why procreation was traditionally linked with marriage, and how men and women traditionally managed separate social spheres and thus complemented one another’s social roles. That foundation has been denied Millennials and thus it should be no surprise why they suffer from depression at such a more severe rate than Baby Boomers do. The problem is that they have been given insubstantial road maps on how to navigate the world and how to establish social ties. They cohabitate like their mothers did (Arocho & Kamp Dush, 2017). They see little purpose in romantic/sexual unions outside passing pleasure.


In conclusion, depression is now greater for Millennials than it is for Baby Boomers primarily because Millennials are facing a world that they have not helped to create. Rather than being proactive in determining their fate, they find they must be reactive and in many cases they feel they are faced with tasks that are regressive. They have not learned the value of marriage; the example set for them was poor. They have not been given an opportunity to create jobs: the economy was drained before they had a chance to enter into it. They are drowning in debt and electronics, which further depersonalize and dehumanize their existence. Boomers had the last good breath of fresh air that America had to offer. Generation X saw the…

Sources Used in Documents:


Accius, J., & Yeh, J. C. (2017). America must invest in its next generations.  Generations, 40(4), 101-107.

Arocho, R., & Kamp Dush, C. M. (2017). Like mother, like child: Offspring marital timing desires and maternal marriage timing and stability. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(3), 261.

Bland, H. W., Melton, B. F., Welle, P., & Bigham, L. (2012). Stress tolerance: New challenges for millennial college students. College Student Journal, 46(2), 362-376.

Brown, R. L., Richman, J. A., & Rospenda, K. M. (2017). Economic stressors and psychological distress: exploring age cohort variation in the wake of the great recession. Stress and Health, 33(3), 267-277.

Cannon, L., & Kendig, H. (2018). ‘Millennials’: Perceived generational opportunities and intergenerational conflict in Australia. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 37(4), E127-E132.

Twenge, J. M., Cooper, A. B., Joiner, T. E., Duffy, M. E., & Binau, S. G. (2019). Age, period, and cohort trends in mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes in a nationally representative dataset, 2005–2017. Journal of abnormal psychology, 128(3), 185.

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