TORONTO, November 20, 2014 - Everyone’s heard of the mid-life crisis, which can strike adults in their mid-40s and 50s. A new poll from RBC shows that teens and young adults are having a “quarter-life” crisis of their own. According to data from the first RBC Kids Optimism Survey, youth aged 18 to 21 are significantly less happy, less optimistic, less excited about their future, and are less likely to say the things they do in their daily life are worthwhile compared to kids aged 10 to 17. Just 57 per cent of these young adults feel they can achieve anything they want, and only 59 per cent say they frequently smile, much less often than teens aged 14 to 17 (78 per cent).
A new poll from RBC shows that teens and young adults are having a "quarter-life" crisis of their own.
The survey of nearly 2,400 Canadian youth aged 10 to 25 shows that although Canadian kids are optimistic overall, a dramatic shift in attitudes, behaviours and beliefs occurs as teens reach early-adulthood and the realities of life set-in.
“When young people leave the safety net of high school, they transition to a less-structured and sometimes isolating world of university, college or job-hunting. They are thrust into dealing with the realities of life,” says Dr. Anthony Levitt, chief of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “This stressful period is also often a time when youth turn to drugs and alcohol, which can exacerbate their pessimistic outlook on the world. We also know that this is the age at which youth can show the early signs of mental illness, which will affect their perception of the possibilities available to them and their sense of overall happiness.”
Topline Findings Among Those Aged 10 to 25Attitudes toward life, future, family change in late-teens
Girls are happier than boys, but boys are more excited about the future
Satisfaction with life and tendency towards optimism drop among late teens
Positive feelings are lowest, negativity highest, among those aged 18 to 21
Girls smile more, but also worry more, than boys
“The survey shows that while age plays a significant role in optimism, gender influences when and why kids face stress and worry” said Lisa Wolff, director of Policy and Education, UNICEF Canada. “Studies in other countries typically find that girls experience more stress and worry and lower optimism than boys, but RBC’s survey suggests that older boys are also experiencing difficulty. Asking young people about their lives, as the RBC Kids Optimism Survey does, can assist us in defining the best ways to reach and support them.”
For more than half (51 per cent) of Canadian kids, the opinions of mentors play an important role in how they feel, think and behave. And while majority of Canadians aged 10-25 say that they are interested in learning new things (89 per cent), many lack confidence that they have the life skills needed for a successful future.
The survey shows the important role that mentors play and RBC today announced $2.86 million in funding to 109 community-based after school programs across Canada through the RBC After School Project. These include programs for inner-city children and Aboriginal kids that teach school and life skills through activities such as computer instruction, sports, literacy tutoring, music and art lessons, nutrition guidance, and homework help.
“Our research shows that children benefit significantly from mentorship and a solid after school program can give a real boost to the skills and knowledge students gain in a formal classroom,” said Shari Austin, vice-president, Corporate Citizenship & executive director, RBC Foundation. “We support programs that have a direct impact on the lives of Canadian kids at all ages, giving them a chance to participate in many activities where they have the chance to shine.”
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