HT Youth Survey: Anxiety over exams, jobs give India’s young sleepless nights
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HT Youth Survey: Anxiety over exams, jobs give India’s young sleepless nights

Hung up on success, Indian youth are spending the best years of their lives worrying about examinations and employment. Their looks or relationships with their peers are not as important.

Youth Survey 2017 Updated: Oct 11, 2017 13:22 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
HT Youth Survey,Anxiety,Competitive exams
Over 64% said fear of examinations was the main cause of their insomnia while 45% attributed it to matters of the heart.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

They may act like a fairly chilled-out lot, but the youth of India are mortally afraid of examinations, anxious about getting a job, and generally wary of going wrong with crucial life decisions.

As many as 80% of the respondents covered in the Hindustan Times-MaRS Youth Survey-2017 confessed to harbouring worries that take a toll on their sleep. Over 64% said fear of examinations was the main cause of their insomnia while 45% attributed it to matters of the heart.

“This is the pattern we see in our clinics. Examinations – especially competitive tests – are a major cause of stress and anxiety for people in this age bracket,” says Dr Sameer Malhotra, director of mental health and behavioural sciences at Delhi’s Max Hospitals.

While maintaining good looks accounted for anxiety among 41% of the respondents, keeping up with peers was found to be stressing out around 40.7%.

“When I first joined college, there was obviously some pressure to fit in. In school, everyone wears the same uniform and has the same hairstyle. However, as soon as we go to college, people start judging us by what we wear, how we dress, or even which bag we carry. This is where the problem lies,” says Saubia Arshi, a second-year post-graduate student of social work.

Anxiety triggers: giving that test, hunting for jobs after studies
Youngsters worry a lot about examinations and employment. Many of them are also afraid of not being able to ‘do the right thing’ in life and not being successful. The biggest fallout of worrying is insomnia – about 80% are unable to sleep at night

Dr Malhotra believes focusing on their hobbies will help the youth tide over such worries upon joining a new college or workplace.

Half of the respondents also felt anxious about their employment prospects. “We have been told that my department in college has a 100% placement record, but I am still anxious about the kind of job I will get after my course is done. Guess I will come to know once the placements start,” says Arshi.

Fear of failure gives as many as 30% youngsters the blues. A significantly higher number of respondents from tier II cities such as Kochi (80%), Bhubaneswar (77%) and Jaipur (68.3%) seem to worry about not achieving success. “Right now, my biggest fear is that I will fail in my career. As I am employed with a start-up, it is very important to me that the company succeeds,” says Chitra Surana, whose firm sets up B2B platforms.

Read | HT Youth Survey: More women buy expensive brands for quality, men purchase for style

A little over 10% of the respondents confessed to worrying about being alone.

The survey, which examined the various ways in which the youth cope with stress, said music helped 69.5% people de-stress and unwind. Others chilled out by watching movies (53.5%), talking to others (47.5%), and partying with friends (47.4%).

Around 37% said smartphones helped keep their minds off worries. This, however, is a chill pill that Dr Malhotra doesn’t particularly care for. “The rise in cellphone usage among people has resulted in undesired consequences such as texting while driving and taking their mobiles to bed. Using cellphones in bed causes sleep deprivation,” he says.

Take our quiz to find out what is stressing you:

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Survey Methodology: India Youth Survey 2017 was carried out by MaRS Monitoring and Research Systems in 16 state capitals and major towns in India- Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur, and Chandigarh in the north, Kolkata, Patna, Bhubaneswar and Ranchi in the East, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Indore in the West, and Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi in the South.

Target respondents were both male and female from age groups 18-21 years and 22-25 years, belonging to households with durable ownership of CTV, Refrigerator and at least two of: Car, Two Wheeler, Home computer/laptop, Air Conditioner and Washing machine. The respondent was either currently a student of undergraduate or above or employed with education graduate or above. Additionally the respondent was a regular user of internet on the smart phone and member of a social networking site. Total sample size was 5700, equally divided among men and women and the two age groups. Survey was carried out from July 10 to July 31, 2017.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 09:57 IST