July 11, 2013

Study: Youth attitudes shift in Great Recession

It appears the latest recession 'has caused a lot of young people to stop in their tracks and think about what's important in life,' says Jean Twenge, a psychology professor who co-authored the study.

By Martha Irvine / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 2)

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Drew Miller, shown here at a building under construction on Wednesday in Silver Spring, Md., quit a steady government job to take a chance on a company that's using "smart technologies" to help big corporations cut lighting costs.

AP

That major economic downturn saw a big shift toward the Democratic party, he says, and an embracing of government programs such as Social Security.

The downturn of the 1970s — which caused public opinion to sway Republican — was the only other noteworthy exception he found, he says.

Kenworthy says this recession might impact young people more because they tend to be more impressionable than their elders. But he says a lot will hinge on how long the economic downturn lasts — and how deeply they feel the pain.

Miller, in Virginia, says he still sees a lot of his peers living beyond their means and that worries him.

"I hope that mentality will change to say, 'Hey, we have to plan ahead' because this could happen again," he says.

But Monica Raofpur, a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, doubts the Great Recession will forever change her generation.

"People usually adapt to their surroundings and make decisions based on what is going on in the present, not in the past," says Raofpur, a sales consultant in the tech industry.

The UCLA/San Diego State study was funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, which focuses social issues and has funded several projects related to the Great Recession.

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On the Internet:

Russell Sage Foundation: http://www.russellsage.org

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