A new study says that today, teens and young adults are going through a mental health crisis. They are more depressed today, as compared to data of the mid-2000s. Serious psychological distress and depressive episodes are found in higher rates today amongst these age groups recently. However, the older age groups are comparatively becoming lesser depressed. A 47-year-old professor of psychology and a lead author, Jean Twenge, is an expert who spent most of her time in the study of beliefs and attitudes of young generations. Twenge had published a book in 2016 where she said that teens and young adults feel a lot lonely and disconnected, especially due to smartphones and social media. Her book is named iGen and it explains why today’s kids are becoming more tolerant, less rebellious and less happy. It is being said that her book is supported by weak evidence and there could be other reasons than smartphones, responsible for depression of teens.
Twenge with her team researched and studies data of lifestyle habits of more than 600,000 Americans of different age groups. This survey was carried out in the years 2005 to 2017. The survey included some particular questions and the response of people on those questions. There were questions regarding suicidal thoughts, depressions, etc. Between 2008 and 2017, the rate of severely depressed teens and young adults had comparatively increased. A decade before, the depression rates, as well as suicide rates, were lesser. The rate of depression was actually lower for the people of the age group over 30 in 2017, as compared to 2009. Senior age groups were an exception for this.
The exact cause of this is not yet clear, but some say cultural factors are responsible. As per Twenge, factors like Great Recession could be responsible. If economic causes were to be considered responsible for this, then more than teens, adults should be responsible because they get more affected by this. Twenge and her team say that the depression started rising after 2012 when smartphones came into the picture. These devices also lead to lack of sleeping, which again leads to poor mental health. It limits the face-to-face interaction of people.