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First30days’ The Change Report: Making Changes Today Considered More Difficult To Handle Than 40 Years Ago

Commissioned Study by First30Days Highlights Differences of Generational and Gender Views on Change

May 6, 2008, New York, NY ― First30Days, a New York City-based media company focused on guiding people through large and small changes, both personal and professional, today announced the release of The Change Report. The report is based upon an online study commissioned by First30Days to better understand change—how people perceive, process and manage change in their lives. The research study was conducted by The Southeastern Institute of Research, Inc.

The survey, which is the foundation for The Change Report was based on “The Social Readjustment Rating Scale,” (life’s most stressful moments) created by Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe in 1967. In comparing the two relative studies, the current data suggests that numerous changes are perceived as requiring more readjustments than in 1967—and the overall average for difficulty was higher in 2007.

For example, although, divorce/separation is easier to deal with today (67 vs. 73/65) than in 1967, pregnancy and or the birth of a child rated more difficult than before (60 vs. 40). And, in the workplace, a job firing/ layoff (62 vs. 47) and changing careers (47 vs. 36) are now both seen as more difficult changes than they were in the late 1960s. Because the two study methods are not identical but similar, First30Days suggests findings be interpreted as relative and directional.

General Views on Change
In further research, questions asked included, how well do most people navigate change? While some embrace change better than others, a vast majority of the survey’s respondents (87%) wished they had done something different in their initial response to change. Reducing stress levels, being more assertive and better planning in the face of change were the most common threads for adjustment. Additionally, a positive attitude including optimism (66%), self-confidence (65%) and support (family 64% and friends 58%) were recognized as the essential components for facilitating change.

How to negotiate change effectively and who fares better—across demographics, generations and gender are all featured in The Change Report. A few highlights from the report include:

How Men and Women Differ on Change
Men and women have very similar greatest fears.
Women take longer to adapt to change than men.
Women are more likely than men to discuss change with family or friends.

Men’s greatest fears:
1. Death of a spouse
2. Death of a family member
3. Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
4. Deterioration of personal finances
5. Disability

Women’s greatest fears:
1. Death of a family member
2. Death of a spouse
3. Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
4. Deterioration of personal finances
5. Illness or disability of a partner

The Generational Divide
Older adults respond more positively to change.
Younger generations (X and Millenials) view change as negative and uncertain, while older generations (GI and Baby Boomers) associate change with areas such as maturity, retirement and health. Younger generations are now more informed and influenced on change by the media.

Top fears by age group:

GI & Silent Generation
1. Death of a spouse
2. Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
3. Deterioration of personal finances
4. Death of a family member
5. Disability

Baby Boomers
1. Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
2. Death of a family member
3. Death of a spouse
4. Deterioration of personal finances
5. Illness or disability of a partner

Generation X
1. Death of a family member
2. Death of a spouse
3. Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
4. Deterioration of personal finances
5. Illness of a child

Millenials
1. Death of a family member
2. Death of a spouse
3. Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness
4. Death of a friend
5. Deterioration of personal finances

”The most positive outcomes for many come from negative changes. At First30 Days, we’ve found that people going through difficult, painful changes often find a sense of resiliency and strength that they didn’t know they had. People get better at change the more they experience,” said the company’s founder and CEO Ariane de Bonvoisin. “What the research showed is that people look for the right information, people that can help and a plan of action, which is what we wanted to offer at first30days.com,” adds Ariane.

Additional Points on Change
People who believe in a higher power are more likely to say they respond successfully to change. Divorce, the death of a family member and spouse require the most time needed to adapt to change. Those more likely to accept change and get through it quicker are urban residents, those with a college education, males and those with higher incomes.

Change and Geography
Residents of the Northeast are less likely to fear divorce. People in the South are more likely than all others to fear a hurricane or natural disaster. Southerners are also more likely to fear deterioration of personal finances. Residents in the West are more likely to think of change as an adventure, fun and exciting together with confusion and uncertainty, than others.

The Change Report, currently available at
http://www.first30days.com/pages/the_change_report.html will be revised annually by First30Days. For information about the company, nearly 50 life changes currently offered on the web site, and more, log on to www.first30days.com.

About the Study
The Southeastern Institute of Research, Inc. (SIR), a national marketing research firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, conducted this study. Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School and lecturer for the Harvard University Mind/Brain/ Behavior Initiative served as a consultant to First30Days throughout the research process. The research was conducted online from August 20 to 23, 2007. A total of 1,306 completed interviews, geographically dispersed across the U.S. were collected. This sample size has a maximum statistical error of +/-2.8 percentage points.