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Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z – who is best at coping with lockdown?

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First, a declaration of interest.  I am (just) over 40.   Which means that as far as the University College, London study of how people feel about various aspects of our current crisis, from the lockdown itself to the government’s handling of the crisis as well as what their biggest concerns are and how they are coping with loneliness, I fit into the middle age range, from 30 – 59, on the cusp between being Gen Y (millennial) and Gen Z.  I reckon that my generation is probably the best placed in many respects: mature enough to have seen a lot, perhaps made a little money, technologically literate (certainly compared to the Baby Boomers), at ease with Netflix, PlayStation and still able to relate to what the Gen Zers are talking about.  We should be well placed to ride out this lockdown…

Consequently, I was more than a bit surprised by the results of the UCL study. It’s been running for three weeks now and it covers 60,000 people every week.  By any standard, that’s a healthy sample size. And what it shows is that it is in fact the Baby Boomers, those 60 and over, who are faring best.

All participants are asked to score themselves out of 10 for each different aspect of the study.  For overall “Life Satisfaction” (shown below) the Baby Boomers score between 6 and 6.5, while those between 18 and 29 scored themselves between 4 and 4.5.  “My lot” – the 30-59 year-olds, are somewhere between 5 and 5.5.   For “Loneliness,” the highest score was for the youngsters, those aged 18 to 29, who have a rating of 6 out of 10. Conversely, the older people, whom we often think of as being stuck on their own and thus more likely to fare badly, actually felt the least lonely, with an average score of 4.5.


On almost every measure, the youngest generation does worst, with my age range somewhere in the middle. And when it comes to our willingness to do what we’re told, the UCL study shows that two thirds of all people say that they are sticking to the rules, but only 45% of the 18-29 year old group reported that they are doing what is required. In contrast, more than 80% of those aged 60+ are behaving themselves. Not only that, but the 60+ age group are also exercising most: some 43% of them spending more than 30 minutes a day on keeping fit, whereas for the other age groups the figures on fitness range from 32% to 35%. Perhaps most scarily, the report reveals that 39% of all age groups are doing no exercise at all.  And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take the dog for a walk…

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment



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