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'Age of anxiety' for young people 

Young people are struggling in an ‘age of anxiety’, with four in 10 anxious about important decisions and uncertain about the future, a new report has warned


The report, The Connected Generation, is one of the largest global studies of its kind surveying more than 15,000 young adults across 25 countries and has been released by Barna Group in partnership with international children’s charity World Vision.

While being recognised as a “hyper-connected and globally minded generation”, the report has found that the extent of anxiety and uncertainty are often tied to finances and vocation, and only one third (33 per cent - UK 24 per cent)of respondents say they feel deeply cared for by those around them.

In an effort to look into the link between personal connections and mental health, The Connected Generation engaged participants in their attitude toward religion and faith and its role in their lives. Levels of loneliness, isolation and anxiety were found to be fairly high across all participants, yet it found those who are engaged in a religion or faith generally, correlated with high levels of connectedness. The survey found that only 19 per cent (UK 17 per cent)of those with a faith felt lonely and isolated, opposed to 31 per cent (UK 38 per cent)of those with no religious affiliation.

Other key findings include:

  • Four in 10 young adults are anxious about important decisions, uncertain about the future or afraid to fail
  • Fifty-seven percent of 18–35-year-old respondents sense a connection to people around the world;
  • More than three-quarters say events around the world matter to them. 

President of Barna Group, David Kinnaman said, 'Through the largest single study in Barna’s history, we’ve gained unique insights into the most pressing issues and concerns facing Millennials and Gen Z—cohorts who are much talked about and often misunderstood.

'In addition to providing many hopeful signs about the opportunities ahead of these generations, the study shows powerful connections between practicing faith and overall well-being.'

He continued, 'For years now, our team has gone to great lengths to listen to the stories and experiences of teenagers and young adults across the religious spectrum—from devoted and passionate adherents of Christianity and other faiths, to those for whom religion is an artefact of a bygone era. From this report we do see evidence that some key mentorships and friendships are common among young people with a faith, and patterns in the data at least suggest religion may play some role in keeping loneliness at bay.'

Tim Pilkington, CEO of World Vision UK said, 'It is great to see a young generation who feel connected to the world around them and care about what is going on in the world. But the high levels of anxiety facing this generation is deeply worrying.

'I hope this report will help individuals, churches and communities ?nd ways to establish better, meaningful connections and make a tangible difference.'

More details at: https://www.barna.com/faithforthefuture/ 

The full results will be released at the end of September. 

  • Young adults and Baptists Together - a series of recommendations to engage and release young adults in mission and leadership across Baptists Together have been made
  • Phil Knox, head of mission to young adults at the Evangelical Alliance, offers eight reasons to be hopeful for the future of young adults in the UK church in light of the Barna research

Baptist Times, 18/09/2019
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