Quarter-life crisis as common as a mid-life crisis, study says

May 6, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier report

(PhysOrg.com) -- According to findings presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Glasgow, young adults are just as vulnerable to suffering a quarter-life crisis as their older counterparts are to suffering a mid-life crisis. The stress of jobs, relationships, and expectations are the contributing factors.

Lead researcher Dr. Oliver Robinson from the University of Greenwich in London compares this new phenomenon to that of a mid-life crisis as it shows all the similar characteristics: insecurities, depression, disappointments, and . The majority of these quarter-life crises occur at the around the age of 30 when adults feel the pressure to succeed before the age of 35.

Robinson conducted in-depth studies on 50 cases of quarter-life crisis and results showed that there are five phases to the quarter-life crisis.

Phase 1 finds the young adult feeling trapped in their choices and running their life on autopilot.

Phase 2 brings forth a strong desire to change the situation.

Phase 3 begins by taking action and leaving the job or relationship in which you felt trapped and begin trying new experiences.

Phase 4 is the rebuilding stage where you take control and begin anew life.

Phase 5 is about the development of your new life which is now more focused on your interests and values.

Robinson has found that the quarter-life crisis is a positive one and results of the study show that 80% look back on their crisis as a positive change that needed to be made. Robinson believes that those who go through a quarter-life crisis are much less likely to fall into a mid-life crisis later in life.

According to the study, those most vulnerable to a crisis are educated adults who have a strong desire to succeed as well as a strong sense of idealism regarding how they believe their life should be.

Explore further: Predicting the quality of life for older adults

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