This special section brings together leading experts in psychology and sociology to examine the consequences of the Great Recession for young people's values, achievement orientation, and outlook to the future. Evidence from Europe and the United States suggests that the impact of the recession varies for distinct outcomes and by age, the latter pointing to potential sensitive periods for interventions. Although the direct effects of the recession are not strong, they accelerate pre-existing trends towards more prolonged and precarious transitions to independence, and are likely to bring with them long-term scarring with respect to health and well-being. While feelings of self-confidence and self-worth have eroded, young people continue to subscribe to the “American Dream,” the belief that in principle it is possible to make it – even if limitations to one's own capabilities are recognised. Trust in institutions has declined, but support and concern for others have increased, suggesting that in times of economic hardship and uncertainty social relationships become more salient. Young people's response to the recession appears to be less of a “me-first” reaction than “let's help each other”: a form of “collective agency” to counter the inadequacy of social safety nets.
- Great Recession
- Young people