Possibilities in life make them restless and anxious Young adults are the sector of society most prone to bouts of anxiety, according to the findings of a four-year study into mental health. The survey by the Institute of Psychology at the Chinese Academy of Science found people aged between 20 and 30 were facing the most stress in the mainland's rapidly changing society. Socio-economic circumstances, heavy workloads and personal responsibilities were cited as the top three sources of stress by the survey group of around 8,000 people from 10 occupations, ranging from professional managers to farmers. 'Chinese people are under much more life pressure now than 10 years ago because intense competition that comes with the market economy is getting on everybody's nerves,' said Wang Jisheng, a senior researcher at the psychological institute. Young people were bearing the brunt of competition in a transitional period in which everything seemed possible, but nothing was certain, he said. Compared with their parents, most of whom have lived in one place and stuck with the same job, the 20-somethings are much more migratory. 'They're restless, because they see great personal development possibilities lying ahead and they are going for it,' Mr Wang said. 'But it's going to be a nasty battle.' Another recent report by the institute revealed that a quarter of mainlanders suffer from mental illnesses in varying degrees, with the proportion among young people rising to a third. Official data shows that only 70 per cent of new graduates are successful in finding employment. 'Academic pressure and employment pressure are acute among young people,' Mr Wang said. 'And they're not so well equipped to cope.' According to Dai Yingpin , a Shenzhen-based psychological analyst whose clients are mainly under 30, relationship issues are adding to the pressure on youngsters in a society where traditional value systems are falling apart. 'There are more lifestyle choices for China's young people today,' Ms Dai said. 'After resisting all the social norms imposed on them, young people actually find they are sceptical about everything and have no convictions.' They faced a huge amount of anxiety because they faced so many choices. 'The mental territory of China's young people is all up for grabs,' Ms Dai said.