Hertie School Senior Professor of Public Health and Education Klaus Hurrelmann co-authored the study.
What are young people between the ages of 14 and 29 worried about most? In the fifth edition of the study Youth in Germany, Hertie School Senior Professor of Public Health and Education Klaus Hurrelmann and youth researcher Simon Schnetzer draw clear conclusions. In autumn, young people were most preoccupied with major crises. While the COVID-19 crisis is fading into the background, concerns about a larger war in Europe, inflation and climate change are putting stress on young people’s mental health. In addition to fear of poverty in old age and high inflation, one thing is clear: according to young people, Germany's years of prosperity seem to be over.
Every fourth young person reports mental stress
"For an alarmingly large minority, psychological worries have become entrenched and concentrated. This cannot be overlooked. For many young people, the powers of psychological defense are exhausted and risk factors are multiplying. We see this as an urgent warning signal," say researchers Hurrelmann and Schnetzer. In their survey, 25% of the young people stated that they were dissatisfied with their mental health, and 10% even reported suicidal thoughts. These values have increased since the last trend study in May 2022.
Young people are also concerned about Germany's political and economic situation, which they perceive as more negative compared to six months ago. 71% of respondents are worried about inflation, 64% about the war in Ukraine expanding and 54% about an economic crisis. 55% of respondents were concerned about climate change, 49% about energy shortages and 43% about impending old-age poverty.
Above all, effects of the war in Ukraine are causing economic worries
Especially the war in Ukraine troubles young people. The effects of inflation on electricity, gas and food prices are the impacts of the war that young people feel most strongly about. In addition, 28% of 14-29-year-olds are afraid of the war spreading to Germany and 17% fear military conscription.
The October 2022 survey is part of Youth in Germany, a trend study published every six months. It is a representative online survey of the German-speaking population aged 14 to 29 and is supplemented by group interviews. The biannual studies focus on how young people react to current political, economic and social events. Each new study builds on the results of the previous ones, follows the same methodology and is comparable. A total of 1,027 young people were interviewed for the current survey. The research is supported by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach and Bilendie Respondi. Prof. Klaus Hurrelmann and Simon Schnetzer are scientific advisors and co-authors.
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