SEP 28 2010 / Report reveals extent of Britain's new midlife crisis
- One in five of those aged 35-44 feel lonely a lot of the time, or have suffered depression
- Nearly one in three aged 35-44 think shorter working hours would improve family relationships
- Communication is the biggest problem for over 800,000 35-44 year olds
People in their late 30s and early 40s are the unhappiest in society, according to a new report that lays bare Britain’s new midlife crisis.
Traditionally the territory of those in their late 40s to 50s, the midlife crisis is now affecting those aged 35 to 44, according to the report. They were the loneliest of any age group, with more than one in five (21%) of them saying they feel lonely a lot of the time. And 800,000 of them said communication is the biggest problem in their relationships.
Those are some of the findings of The Way We Are Now, the first ever definitive report into the state of the UK's relationships, conducted jointly by phone and broadband firm TalkTalk and relationship experts Relate. The report, published today, 29th September, takes an in-depth look into the nation’s relationships with their families, friends, partners and work colleagues.
The report found that those aged 35-44 came out worst of any age group in a number of key areas, including the following:
• 22% wish they had a better relationship with their family and the same number feel closer to their friends than to their family;
• 30% think their family relationships would improve if they could reduce their working hours;
• 25% wish they had more time for their family and 23% wish they had more time for their friends;
• 22% have suffered depression because of a bad relationship;
• 28% have left a job because of a bad relationship with a colleague;
• 40% have been cheated on by a partner.
The research also reveals how parenting techniques are changing as this age group increasingly utilise modern communication methods. More than a fifth (22%) of parents aged 35-44 use social networks like Facebook and MySpace to keep in contact with their children, nearly one in 25 of them (4%) stay in touch with their kids via Skype or similar webcam-based systems, and over half (56%) by mobile phone.
Yet even with the increased range of communication options technology offers, communication problems were named by 9% of people in that age group as the number one cause of strain in their relationship with their partner.
Claire Tyler, CEO of Relate, commented on the findings: “One of the striking things about this report is the results for people in their late 30s and early 40s. Traditionally we associate the midlife crisis with people in their late 40s to 50s, but the report reveals that this period could be reaching people earlier than we would expect. And it’s no coincidence this is the largest age group we see at Relate.
“It’s when life gets really hard – you’re starting a family, pressure at work can be immense and increasingly money worries can be crippling. We cannot afford to sit back and watch this happen. The ensuing effects of relationship breakdown on society are huge, so it’s really important that this age group has access to appropriate and relevant support, be that through friends and family or other methods such as counselling.
“That said, it’s reassuring to see that actually one in five 35 to 44 year olds have made lifelong friends through work and the same number again say that the satisfaction they get from work improves their relationships outside of it.”
Tristia Clarke, Commercial Director of TalkTalk, said: “People in their late 30s and early 40s are a time-poor generation. Long hours at work means they have less time to spend face to face with friends and family, so they are shifting to newer communications methods to fill the gap, even for their parenting.”
In light of the report’s findings, TalkTalk is offering free calls for its customers to Relate’s helpline for a limited period.* The aim is to enable TalkTalk customers who feel they would benefit from Relate’s services to take their first steps towards receiving counselling and support.
Tristia Clarke continued: “Our report reveals just how deep many of the problems in our personal and professional relationships are. We’ve set up this free calls offer because we wanted to remove any potential barrier that might stop our 4.2m customers from contacting Relate and benefiting from its services.”
Contact Media and PR Officer, Kim Atkins on: 020 7554 2892 / firstname.lastname@example.org or for out of hours enquiries - 07971 869 735
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Notes to editors
Fieldwork was conducted by Consumer Intelligence Ltd on behalf of TalkTalk and Relate. 2,004 adults aged 18+ were surveyed across Great Britain via an online omnibus survey. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2010. Results have been weighted to the known GB population of adults aged 18+
Where appropriate figures have been rounded up or down to the nearest whole number
* This offer includes calls by TalkTalk customers from landlines only to Relate’s national helpline from anywhere in the UK, October 1st 8am to 5pm and October 2nd 9am to 5pm. Calls are answered by a trained Relate consultant who can help you with any matters relating to your relationships. The options may involve booking a session of Relate counselling near your home, setting up telephone or online counselling (for which there is a charge) or signposting you to another service.
• TalkTalk, launched in February 2003, is the biggest provider of broadband to Britain’s homes. It now has over 4.2 million home phone and broadband customers signed up to TalkTalk and Aol Broadband.
• The TalkTalk fully unbundled network now extends to approximately 1,700 exchanges, covering 80% of the UK population, with 77% of TalkTalk customers now on its own network.
• In uSwitch’s Customer Satisfaction Report in 2008, TalkTalk was voted the best value for money home phone provider and the best value for money bundle (combining home phone and broadband). This is the most comprehensive survey of UK telephone and broadband suppliers, and is based on the verdicts of over 10,000 home phone and 11,000 broadband customers.
• One of the most comprehensive sites on the web, TalkTalk's portal www.talktalk.co.uk provides 25 channels and over 55,000 pages of constantly updated information, resources and entertainment content. The site receives over 8 million unique visitors per month, a total of 286 million page views. The site gives access to online services from shopping to sport and money to entertainment and a Members Area with exclusive content and offers.
• TalkTalk is one of seven partners behind YouView (www.youview.com), the new internet-connected TV service, along with the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Arqiva and Five, YouView is expected to launch to UK homes in mid 2011.
• Follow TalkTalk on Twitter and on our blog: twitter.com/talktalktips and www.talktalkblog.co.uk
• Relate’s vision is a future in which healthy relationships form the heart of a thriving society
• Relate’s services extend beyond couple counselling to family counselling, counselling for young people, online counselling, sex therapy and informal workshops
• Relate works in schools, primary care settings, prisons, and Children’s Centres
• Relate supports 150,000 people each year in over 600 locations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
• Relate has a work-force of 2,000 people nationwide