Most young adults suffer from a "quarterlife crisis" over jobs, roles or relationships that they feel trapped in, British scientists claimed Thursday.
Research from London's University of Greenwich found that people between the ages of 25 and 35 were as vulnerable to experiencing a period of panic and anxiety as older people suffering from midlife crises.
"In many ways, it is not surprising, if you consider that in adolescence people have a wonderful array of alternatives open to them, but they are forced to select one or two paths at a very early age," said study leader Dr. Oliver Robinson. "It is easy to get that wrong, and these days, we place a high value on aspirations. If we feel we are not able to fulfill or express them in everyday life, we do not put up with it in the way previous generations did."
He said the majority of crises occurred around 30, as debt and a sense of urgency to "make it" before the age of 35 added to the pressure.
"It starts off with a young adult feeling locked into a job or relationship," he said. "Frustration and anger build up, and eventually they do break out, but that triggers all sorts of emotional upheaval. There is the grieving for what they have left behind and a period of anxiety and uncertainty, as the rebuilding of new life structures is not instant."
However, Robinson also said that sufferers were likely to benefit from the crisis in the long term as they reassessed their life paths.
"The research showed in most cases, new commitments are developed, which are more in tune with personal interests and values... positive change usually results from it," he added.
Robinson, who conducted in-depth studies of 50 separate cases of "quarterlife crisis" was due to present the findings of his work Thursday in Glasgow at the annual general meeting of the British Psychological Society.