By Emma Elsworthy

Six in 10 millennials are suffering from a ‘quarter-life crisis’, according to a new study.

Researchers polling 2,000 Brits aged 25 to 35 found 56 per cent are struggling to cope with financial, career and personal pressures.

The study shows 53 per cent of young adults are finding it difficult to make ends meet, and trying to find a job has stressed out 23 per cent per cent.

Current living situation has led to feelings of despair for one third of young adults, while 28 per cent are coping with the shock of a challenging job.

Other facts contributing to the quarter-life crisis include trying to find employment, attempting to get on the property ladder and the lack of a romantic relationship.

And the average millennials claims to have felt at rock bottom for over six months as they struggle to sort their life out.

However, 50 per cent are choosing to believe their personal difficulties now will be a catalyst for positive changes in their future.

first direct, which carried out the study, has teamed up with psychologist, Dr Oliver Robinson, Quarter-Life Crisis Expert and Senior Lecturer for Psychology in the Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling at the University of Greenwich, to look at how people can use a crisis as a spark for change.

Dr Robinson, who focuses on how identity, wellbeing and mental health are affected by major life transitions, crises and ageing processes during adulthood, said: “There’s two sides to a quarter-life crisis.

“They’re often feared as periods of difficulty and distress, but in my experience they can also be times of openness, curiosity and growth.

“People may find old habits and coping mechanisms no longer help in the way they used to, and this can act as a spur to explore new ideas, new activities and new ways of overcoming life’s challenges.”

The study found 18 per cent of adults aren’t coping well with the fact their relationship with their parents is difficult, and similarly 25 per cent say their romantic relationship is hard work.

Interestingly, when asked to describe how they’ve been feeling over the past six months, ‘anxious’, ‘frustrated’, ‘confused’ and ‘sad’ were among the most common used.

Just 36 per cent said they have felt happy in times of late, and only 27 per cent said ‘optimistic’.

Perhaps due to feelings of pessimism and worry, 36 per cent of those polled say they are more curious than usual to try new things that could improve their quality of life.

But during a period of crisis, only 37 per cent of adults know who to turn to, or where to go for advice.

Those who do seek help tend to reach out to family members or good friends in person (40 per cent respectively).

A quarter will speak to friends online, while 16 per cent will take to the net to communicate with family.

Only one in 10 have considered using a therapist when things are bad, and just two per cent have a mentor to get them through trickier times.

But a fifth never manage to get good and helpful advice.

Zoe Burns-Shore, Head of Culture at first direct, which commissioned the research via OnePoll.com said: “We know people today go through major life changes in a way that’s so different to previous generations.

“first direct has never been about telling people what to do, but we know this is a very real issue for many people today.

“By teaming up with Dr Robinson we want to highlight how people have actually found the quarter life crisis to be a catalyst for positive change. And by sharing the theory and experiences we hope we can help people reframe the way they think about difficult times.”

first direct and Dr Oliver Robinson have launched a guide: “How to turn your Quarter-Life Crisis into a Quarter-Life Catalyst”. The guide outlines the two types of quarter life crisis – the “Locked in” type and the “Locked out” type – and details the stages people go through within each one. The guide is available on first direct’s website

first direct also brought together people who’d never met before to talk about their experiences candidly on camera. Those at the beginning of a crisis reported feelings of anxiety and frustration while those nearing the end talked about relief and the positivity the changes they went through brought them You can watch the video here.


1. Financial difficulties

2. Living situation

3. Working in a challenging job

4. Lack of romantic relationship

5. Being in a challenging romantic relationship

6. Trying to find a job

7. Relationship with parents

8. Trying to get on the property ladder

9. Reading the news

10. Social media


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