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Young Shanghai People Suffer from Pressure
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This city's younger workers are under pressure at work and appear to be suffering from it, according to the results of a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by the Shanghai Women's Federation, found that most of the families in the city said they felt constant pressure from one source or another, but social competition and stress related to work were the main sources.

And young families said they were suffering the most.

Among the 875 randomly chosen families, only 13 percent said they had never felt any pressure.

Other people said they suffered pressure as a result of having to support and educate their children, or because of financial problems, a lack of job security, a debt burden or family illness.

The intensity and causes of the pressure people said they felt did not vary by gender in most categories, though it was a different story when broken down by age and education. Young and well-educated families, or those under 35 and with a college degree or above, said they felt the most pressure. Sixty-four percent of the respondents from that group said they felt serious pressure, which they attributed to work, a desire for more training and competition.

By contrast, half of the families aged 36-50, 50 and above and those under the age of 35, but with only high school education or less, said they felt serious pressure.

Xu Anqi, a sociologist at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, said it was normal for people in a society in transition to feel pressure. Young people in particular could feel insecure amid an unstable economic situation and unclear future.

Xu added that the lack of universal healthcare and a pension system added to people's feelings of insecurity.

Cao Ming, a 30-year-old financial controller who works for a Japanese pharmaceutical company, said he felt constant pressure.

"I have to support my family, pay a mortgage, save money to have a baby and improve myself as well if I want to advance in my career," Cao said. "I suffer insomnia once in a while."

He said he relieved the pressure by talking with his wife, though sometimes he said he did not have the energy to have a conversation.

Like Cao, few people in Shanghai seek professional help to deal with their stress. Two percent of the respondents to the survey said they met with therapists when they faced tough situations at work or in their relationships.

Nineteen percent said they had never talked with a therapist, but might go in the future. And 79 percent said they would never seek professional help to solve their problems.

(China Daily March 2, 2007)

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