The number of people suffering a “quarter life crisis” has doubled in a generation as they feel locked into or out of big life decisions according to new research.
The study by psychologist Dr Oliver Robinson of Greenwich University found that 60% of millennials had a “formative crisis” between 25 and 35 years compared with 30% of their parents at a similar age. The “locked in crisis” where they feel trapped by career or relationship choices, is marginally more common than “locked out” where a young adult struggled to find their own way in the world, according to the research from in depth interviews and a survey of over 1,000 people.
The rise of “quarter life crisis” which the research suggests lasts two years and clusters around age 30, reflects major social changes in the past 50 years, including delaying marriage and parenthood, increased numbers going to university and rising longevity.
“There is no doubt that the current way we run adulthood is more conducive to quarter life crises “ says Dr Robinson, “For decades we have pushed back the age at which people need to settle down and put roots down”. So while their parents’ generation expected to be rooted soon after having passed into legal adulthood, it is normal now to be rootless and undecided when 30. That means that you have a lot of instability, chopping and changing and getting confused about what you should do.”
With life expectancy rising, the average age of marriage is up from 22 in 1970 to 30 now for women and has risen from 24 to 32 in men. The average age of first childbirth has risen from 22 to 28 while the proportion of young people at university has jumped from 14% in 1980 to more than 50%. (Source: drawn from The Telegraph 24/6)