'Psychological recession' divides UK generations

Young people in Britain are less gloomy about the recession than their parents appear to be, according to a report published today.

A generational divide has emerged, with 18 to 25-year-olds proving better at shrugging off the economic downturn, research shows.

Despite many British school and university-leavers in this age group facing unemployment, they were found to be the least worried and least depressed about the impact of the recession.

Meanwhile, their parents are in the grip of a "psychological recession", concluded the Generation Recession Report, which was commissioned by pensions company Friends Provident and undertaken by the Social Issues Research Centre.

Many over-50s feel overly fearful and cautious despite being relatively unaffected by any economic hardship, the report said.

It found that more than one in three (38%) 18 to 25-year-olds say that, while aware of the recession, they are not significantly worried about it - in contrast to just 19% of 51 to 55-year-olds.

More than two thirds of Britons (68%) said they were worried about the impact of the recession - and specifically how it could affect their job security, finances and loved ones.

But almost twice as many people felt their jobs were safe compared with those who have lost, or feared they would lose, their jobs (50% versus 27%).

Nearly a fifth of respondents to the survey (18%) considered there was "too negative a view" on the recession and said people should get on with life as before.

Dr Peter Marsh, author of the report, said: "Younger people are adapting their behaviours in the light of recession more significantly than the older generation.

"They are more debt averse and most likely to have increased their level of saving. We will see them much better prepared for the next credit crunch and able to weather it better than their older peers have this time around."

Simon Clamp, UK managing director at Friends Provident, said: "Our research shows that there is hope for the future as young people equip themselves to cope financially and emotionally with the challenges our economy can bring."

The research also found that only 38% of Britons could remember that the last recession was in 1991, while 49% of those who remembered the last recession felt that this time around was different from previously and was affecting them more negatively.

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