Date: May 05 2012
The amount of time Lucian Tan, 21, spends fretting about social interactions and studying bemuses his friends, but it is likely many of his peers worry as much as he does.
A survey from Macquarie University's centre for emotional health, which asked people about their everyday worries, found more than 80 per cent of the 282 respondents under 30 worried moderately to a lot about work or study.
More than half worried about social interactions, and nearly 70 per cent stressed about their image, including looks and achievements.
Those aged between 45 and 59 worried least about image - of the 296 participants in that group, about half worried moderately or more.
''I feel worry has become a part of my daily experience,'' said Mr Tan, who is studying for a double degree in arts and law at the University of Sydney. ''I think all of us worry about future and career and how to get there, but my friends studying things like commerce and business, for example, are more worried about where to get a job, rather than how.''
Generally, the survey found under-30s were more self-interested while those aged 60 or over were more concerned about societal issues including war, climate change and the government. Under-30s worried about relationships the most, while the nearly 100 surveyed aged 60 or above worried about that the least.
Mr Tan's own experience reflected this - he was concerned about offending people or saying the wrong thing. Organising events and awaiting responses also caused anxiety.
''So I worry about things where I don't have much control, where you rely on the responses of other people,'' he said.
When it came to health and fitness concerns, those under 30 worried as much as those over 60, at 68 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.
But Jennifer Hudson, an associate professor in Macquarie's department of psychology, said worry tended to remain fairly constant through life.
''Post-puberty, from around 13-plus, is when you get a real spike in anxiety problems,'' she said. ''But it does tend to stay relatively stable throughout life and it's remarkable that there is such a high proportion of the population who are worrying.''
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