Inferiority complex: 8 in 10 millennials believe they aren’t ‘good enough’

  • Survey reveals most young adults feel frequently overwhelmed by the demands of their work and social lives, with many experiencing adverse mental health effects.
  • Nearly six in ten millennials believe many of society’s expectations for them are unrealistic.

LONDON — It feels like everyday there is another article published blaming millennials for this or that. A certain industry is in decline? Millennials must be involved. Not enough money being generated in certain sectors? Those stingy millennials are spending too much money on avocado toast again. Fair or not, young adults of this day and age have become a scapegoat of sorts for a myriad of societal problems and changes. What seems to be lost in this conversation is the effect all of this is having on many millennials’ mental health and self-confidence.

Now, a new survey consisting of 2,000 millennials (ages 22-38) has revealed some troubling statistics regarding how young adults see themselves in comparison to both their peers and older generations. An astounding eight in 10 flat out believe they are not “good enough” in virtually all areas of their lives. Furthermore, three quarters of the survey’s respondents admit that they constantly feel “overwhelmed” by pressure to succeed in their careers, find a meaningful romantic relationship, and meet others’ expectations.

Another seven in 10 millennials say that daily chores like going to the gym regularly, maintaining a presence on social media, and making enough money are among the top reasons why they feel overwhelmed from time to time. In all, 80% of respondents even say these worries have negatively impacted their sleep and 79% admit that their overall mental health has suffered.

The survey, commissioned by plant-based food producer Alpro, found that the average millennial feels inadequate roughly 130 times per year.

Perhaps our current social media culture that places status and appearance over everything else is also to blame for this disturbing trend among millennials. For example, many respondents say they feel great pressure to walk at least 10,000 steps each day, buy some property as soon as possible, own a nice car, and stay up to date on the latest fashion trends. And that’s not even accounting for other more mundane responsibilities such as staying on top of daily commitments, maintaining an active social life, making new friends, and eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Interestingly, 75% of respondents say that their efforts to succeed in life have actually had an adverse impact on their personal relationships. On a related note, six in 10 say that the pressure they feel to succeed professionally has had a negative effect on their careers.

So, where is all this pressure coming from? Over a quarter of respondents say their number one source of pressure is their parents, followed by a fifth of respondents who cite social media. An additional 17% say their peers and friends cause them the most pressure. A lot of pressure also comes directly from within, though, with around half saying they routinely place an unfair amount of pressure on themselves to succeed.

As far as gender differences, more millennial women (82%) reported dealing with constant self-esteem issues than men (73%). Women cited having enough money as the number one source of pressure in their lives, while men listed eating healthy as their more frequent and persistent presser.

All in all, 58% of respondents believe that many of society’s expectations for them are simply unrealistic.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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About the Author

John Anderer

Born blue in the face, John has been writing professionally for over a decade and covering the latest scientific research for StudyFinds since 2019. His work has been featured by Business Insider, Eat This Not That!, MSN, Ladders, and Yahoo!

Studies and abstracts can be confusing and awkwardly worded. He prides himself on making such content easy to read, understand, and apply to one’s everyday life.

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