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Nov 6, 2012

Young workers face greatest stress risk

Last year 67% of workers aged between 18 and 24 took time off due to stress, according to a report by Friends Life.

The survey into workplace stress revealed young workers were the most likely to take time off because of a stress-related condition.

David Williams, director of group protection at Friends Life, described this as “extremely worrying” and something “which needs to be monitored carefully.”

In comparison, only 54% of workers between the ages of 25 to 35 took sick-leave last year. The number falls to 47% among workers aged 35 to 44, and 43% in the 45 to 55 age bracket.

The figure rises slightly to 49% among workers over the age of 55, but this is still significantly lower than the number of young workers who are worst affected by stress.

Dr Ian Drewer, a consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Group, suggested a potential explanation is that young people feel more pressure and expectation as they begin their working life.

He said: “[Y]ounger people maybe more stressed due to their job roles being more time pressured, having greater expectations upon them to climb the career ladder and cope with numerous demands in more challenging economic times.”

He also suggested young people were better equipped to recognise stress and its resultant effects.

“They may also be more aware of the signs of stress in themselves - such as disrupted sleep or diminished cognitive performance - so can recognise it at an earlier stage, and then flag this up within the work environment.”

The majority of the 2000 respondents said their stress level had increased since the economic downturn began in 2008. Work was found to be one of the most common causes of concern, along with money and relationships.


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