Is Stress Aging You? New Research on How Stress Affects Young Adults

How Stress Affects Young AdultsA recent study suggests that younger adults might feel and appear older on tough days, especially when they sense they have less control over their lives.

Shevaun Neupert, a psychology professor at North Carolina State University, explains that stress tends to make older adults feel their age or even older than they are. However, little research has focused on this in younger adults, such as those in their teens, 20s, and 30s. Understanding this phenomenon across different age groups could help develop ways to safeguard mental and physical well-being.


The study involved 107 adults aged 18 to 36, with an average age of about 20. They filled out a baseline and more detailed daily surveys for eight days. These surveys aimed to gauge their daily stress levels, their perceived control over their lives, and how old they felt and looked each day.

The main finding was that on days when participants felt more stressed than usual, they also felt and looked older. This effect only occurred when they also felt they had less control over their lives than usual.

Crucially, the levels of stress and control were compared to each participant’s usual levels. Even if someone reported relatively low stress, the effect was observed if it was higher than their norm. Similarly, the effect still showed if someone felt they still had a fair amount of control, but less than usual.

Neupert highlights that this phenomenon isn’t limited to older adults; it also affects young people. Moreover, chronic stress can have harmful effects over time, and since younger generations are experiencing historically high-stress levels, it’s crucial to monitor their stress-related physical and mental health closely.

Understanding how stress impacts perceptions of age in young adults is essential for developing strategies to support their well-being as they transition into adulthood.

Author Bio

Devon Andre has been involved in the health and dietary supplement industry for a number of years. Devon has written extensively for Bel Marra Health. He has a Bachelor of Forensic Science from the University of Windsor, and went on to complete a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. Devon is keenly aware of trends and new developments in the area of health and wellness. He embraces an active lifestyle combining diet, exercise and healthy choices. By working to inform readers of the options available to them, he hopes to improve their health and quality of life.