Recent College Grads Are Prone to Anger and Depression

But don't worry, the rat race becomes second nature within 7 years or so, researchers say

Hang Tight

College grads eventually stop kvetching about workforce drudgery, study

Ah, college graduation! The first rites of adulthood in which campus living, the meal plan, and 1-800-COLLECT are readily traded for a rented studio apartment, long hours at the office, and rush-hour traffic. What's not to be depressed about?

Echoing the cold comfort your parents probably gave during this rude awakening as you sobbed to them using your non-subsidized cellphone, a recent analysis by Canadian researchers confirms that many recent grads feel this way . . . and things really do get better.

The longitudinal study tracked the life circumstances and mental health symptoms of nearly 600 University of Alberta graduates for 7 years. The researchers learned that the elevated levels of depression and anger customary of "emerging adults" significantly declined over the 7-year period.

The results, say the authors in the paper, "suggest a growing psychosocial maturity on the part of young people that is adaptive." Basically, one gets used to the rat race.

The research, which appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, also backed up the logical notion that the longer a recent graduate delays independence by living at home with his or her parents, the more likely s/he is to be depressed. Freedom does have its price . . . but also its rewards.