KIDS NEED A DRINK? –
April 28, 2021 – The study comparing millennials with Generation Z found rates of depression among adolescents had surged from fewer than one in ten (nine per cent) to more than one in seven (16 per cent) in the 10 years between the two generations. By contrast the proportion who had smoked in adolescence had almost halved from nine per cent to five per cent, while the number trying alcohol before the age of 14 dropped from 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
Generation Z were, however, more likely to be worried about their body image, and more likely to be overweight, according to the research by UCL’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies and Liverpool University. Lower self-worth and body confidence has been linked to increased social media use. Dr Praveetha Patalay, co-author of the research, said the study showed that while there was “good news” that Generation Z were spurning drink and cigarettes, those that did were more prone to depression than the earlier cohort of teenagers. She said such a link was “concerning” and required urgent action by public health and clinical care planners. Yvonne Kelly, Professor Lifecourse Epidemiology at UCL, said increased social media use among Generation Z could be linked to the rise in depression.
“That generation is spending more time engaging with social media and consuming information via those platforms. It could be to do with the content and context of that use,” she said.