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Millennials Are Ghosting the Social Life and Burying Their Health, CVS Study Says

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By: burgundy bug

A couple running on a trail in Bend, Ore’s Old Mill District

Source: Running Together Through Old Mill District | Penelope Peru Photography

Despite having the ability to message anyone around the globe instantly, millennials are choosing to ghost the social life at the small price of their health and wellbeing, according to the results of the Path to Better Health survey.

A Bit of Context…

Last year, Aetna, a health care management company under CVS Health, released their Health Ambitions Study. They aimed to come to a better understanding of consumer health goals, care preferences, and patient-care provider relationships.

Branching off of the previous study, CVS Health launched the Path to Better Health Study to further explore their health goals, care preferences, and figure out what doctors need in order to provide outstanding care for their patients.

A Path to Better Health Study

“More than half of all millennials surveyed don’t know where to meet new people”

A Path to Better Health | CVS Health

The survey collected data from 1,000 participants over the age of 18, oversampling from metropolitan areas including: Atlanta, Austin, New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle, the executive summary reports.

Researches asked participants to rate themselves across six dimensions of wellbeing, which include: emotional, physical, financial, and social wellness, among others.

Read: What is Wellness?

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What they discovered – to no surprise from fellow millennials but at the dismay of health care professionals – is millennials are having an increasingly difficult time meeting new people. Furthermore, millennials are opting to visit walk-in clinics or emergency rooms for treatment as needed, rather than having a primary care physician they can consult with.

I Don’t Need Friends, They Disappoint Me

“I don’t need friends, they disappoint me” clip from an audition reel

Source: I don’t need friends, They disappoint me | Ezra James

53 percent of millennials said they don’t know where to meet new people, and 48 percent said they live in a place that makes it inconvenient to be social, the survey reports.

48 percent of millennials no longer have the desire to be social.

Path to Better Health Study

Additionally, 42 percent of millennials said they are or know someone who is struggling with mental health, and 35 percent said they are or know someone who is struggling with alcohol use.

The Price to Pay For Being Anti Social

Believe it or not, socializing is paramount to our health and wellness.

Countless studies have found a positive correlation between health, wellness, and socializing, the National Institute on Aging reports. Those with robust social lives are least likely to suffer from inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s Disease. They are also more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices, have lower blood pressure, have a better memory, and have a decreased risk of being depressed. 

An active social life is also linked to a longer life over all, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It also helps us cope with stress, and lowers our blood pressure.

Anti social behavior takes a toll on your wellbeing, potentially leading to delinquent behavior and feelings of depression, according to a study published in Developmental and Life-course Criminological Theories.

As much as you may feel you don’t need friends, and as much as they may disappoint you, having a core foundation of people you can reach out to and rely on is associated with a longevity, wellbeing, and to put it simply: happiness.

While millennials often joke online about ditching social outings for weekend-long Netflix binges, or share a few laughs about not having friends at all, the results of this survey are no laughing matter. It solidifies and shines light on the harsh reality of our favorite internet memes: us youngin’s are a bunch of hermits and it’s costing us our health.

Not so funny now, is it?

I Don’t Need Primary Care Physicians, They Disappoint Me

Although 80 percent of the participants said they have a primary care physician and 59 percent continue to visit their doctor for routine checkups, only 27 percent of millennials said they have a primary care physician during the study.

Instead, 32 percent of millennials are relying on walk-in clinics and 31 percent go to the emergency room as they need care.

While the Path to Better Health study makes no mention of whether or not the participants in the survey had health insurance, that could play a role in why millennials are less likely to have a primary care provider.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported that adults between the ages of 25 to 34 were the most likely to be uninsured (17 percent lacked health insurance coverage) in 2018. 14.4 percent of those between the ages of 18 to 24 were uninsured, as well.

It’s reasonable to assume those without health insurance are less likely to have a primary care provider, as it would be costly. Instead of having the luxury of only paying $20 for a routine check up, these college-aged individuals are burdened with paying entirely out of pocket for the visit.

A 10 minute visit to the doctor without insurance for a minor issue could run you about $68, America’s Debt Help Organization reports.

For a young adult who may be in college, working part time or minimum wage, that’s a lot of money for a 10 minute visit when they could take a gamble on a good ol’ web search and try to “fix themselves” (not recommended).

However, that still leaves a good handful of millennials with private or public health insurance who are opting not to have a primary care provider.

Why You Should Have a Primary Care Physician

A primary care physician is the doctor you call whether you’ve got a tummy ache or something far more serious. They are there to oversee and continue your treatment, keeping tabs on your health and referring you to specialists, as needed.

Your primary care physician should be someone you feel comfortable with, someone you can reach out to for issues big and small. Even if they refer you to a specialist, your primary care physician will be there to follow up with and help oversee your treatment.

While walk-in clinics, urgent care facilities, and emergency rooms (ER) are more than apt to care for you, they’re not designed for long-term care. It’s not their job to oversee patients post treatment; there are simply too many people who rush in and out of the ER all day and night to follow up with every.single.one.

After all, following up after a visit to the ER should be the patient’s primary care physician’s duty.

In Conclusion

The face of our future rests upon a generation that are indifferent to their lack of a socialization as well as their lack of routine health care.

They are ghosting the social life, which can have detrimental effects on their physical and emotional wellbeing – all without a doctor to visit as the aftermath of antisocial behavior begins creeping up on them.

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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