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Over half of Britain’s Millennials are in the middle of a Quarter-life Crisis

13 Mar 2018

New research finds 56% of 25-35 year olds are in the middle of a quarter-life crisis

  • Half of those surveyed said going through a quarter-life crisis was an enlightening experience and they’d discovered new things about themselves in the process
  • first direct teams up with Quarter-Life crisis expert and psychologist Dr Oliver Robinson to find out more

Over half (56%) of 25-35 year olds in the UK are currently going through a quarter-life crisis, leaving them feeling ‘stressed’, ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘struggling to cope’, new research from first direct has found.

Financial difficulties are the biggest single cause, with more than half (53%) of people going through a quarter-life crisis admitting they spend more than they earn each month. Other pressures include trying to find the right job (26%) or working in a challenging job (24%), trying to get on the property ladder (22%), and being in the right relationship (25%).

Top causes behind millennials having a crisis episode in the last 12 months




Financial difficulties



Your living situation



Working in a challenging job



Lack of romantic relationship



Trying to find a job



Being in a challenging romantic relationship



Trying to get on the property ladder



However, it’s not all doom and gloom, with many of those who’ve experienced a quarter-life crisis claiming to have discovered more about themselves than those who haven’t been through one. The survey found half of respondents 50% agreed personal difficulties could be a catalyst to a positive future.

To find out more, first direct teamed up with psychologist, Dr Oliver Robinson, Quarter-Life Crisis Expert and Senior Lecturer for Psychology in the Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling at the University of Greenwich, to look at how many people use a crisis as a spark for change.

Dr Robinson, who focuses on how identity, wellbeing and mental health are affected by major life transitions, crises and ageing processes during adulthood, said: “There’s two sides to a quarter-life crisis. They’re often feared as periods of difficulty and distress, but in my experience they can also be times of openness, curiosity and growth. People may find old habits and coping mechanisms no longer help in the way they used to, and this can act as a spur to explore new ideas, new activities and new ways of overcoming life’s challenges.’”

With almost two thirds (63%) of people not sure where or who to go to during a crisis episode, first direct and Dr Oliver Robinson have launched a guide: “How to turn your Quarter-Life Crisis into a Quarter-Life Catalyst”. The guide outlines the two types of quarter life crisis – the “Locked in” type and the “Locked out” type - and details the stages people go through within each one.

Zoe Burns-Shore, Head of Culture at first direct , said: “We know people today go through major life changes in a way that’s so different to previous generations. first direct has never been about telling people what to do, but we know this is a very real issue for many people today. By teaming up with Dr Robinson we want to highlight how people have actually found the quarter life crisis to be a catalyst for positive change. And by sharing the theory and experiences we hope we can help people reframe the way they think about difficult times.”

With so many people not knowing where to turn, first direct brought together people who’d never met before to talk about their experiences candidly on camera. Those at the beginning of a crisis reported feelings of anxiety and frustration while those nearing the end talked about relief and the positivity the changes they went through brought them.

Kerry Lyons, who features in the video, started writing about her personal experience of a quarter-life crisis on her blog the Imperfect Life, said: “My quarter-life crisis was actually one of the best things to happen to me. It was hard, don’t get me wrong, but it also forced me into action from feeling totally stuck in a really dark and lonely place. It helped me realise that living my life for other people was never going to cut it, and that happiness could only come from living my life for me. Little did I know at the time, my experience would be such a big part of my future!”

‘How to turn your quarter-life crisis into a quarter-life catalyst’ is available on first direct 's website.

You can also watch the video here.Ends


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