German youth concerned about war, other threats, says Klaus Hurrelmann in new study

A young boy waving a ukrainian flag in the center of a demonstration showing solidarity with Ukraine in Bielefeld, Germany.

Youth in Germany survey shows young people fear the war in Ukraine could spread.

German youth were shocked by the war in Ukraine and are concerned it could spread, according to the 2022 study, Youth in Germany, conducted by youth researcher Simon Schnetzer together with Klaus Hurrelmann, Professor of Public Health and Education at the Hertie School.

The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people between the ages of 14 and 29 online in March 2022. According to the study, two-thirds (68%) of German young people are concerned about a war in Europe. In addition, interviews conducted as part of the study show that the vast majority of them did not expect the war in Ukraine and cannot comprehend why war is even being waged in 2022.

The fear that the war in Ukraine will spread to the whole of Europe is great among the young generation. A total of 45% of those surveyed are very afraid of the war spreading to Europe, 31% are unsure about this and only 23% are barely worried about it.

"These worries come on top of the psychological scars of the pandemic, which have not yet healed. This is especially true for young people from economically disadvantaged families,” says Hurrelmann. “The fear of war, like the pandemic, is taking its toll on them in particular. They now fear renewed difficulties for their professional and personal development."

Young people expect inflation, fear spread of war

When it comes to the expected effects of the war in Ukraine on life in Germany, 71% of young people expect energy and commodity prices to rise, while 65% assume that inflation will continue to increase in the form of price increases and currency devaluation.

In addition to the economic consequences, they expect consequences with serious effects on their living situation and mental health: 42% expect that living in fear of war could become a permanent condition, and 28% expect war to spread to Germany.

Despite high concerns about war in Europe, comprehensive sanctions against Russia are supported by only 57% of respondents. The German government's decision to increase military and defence spending is supported by 43% of those surveyed, while 22% clearly oppose it. The admission of Ukraine to the European Union and the supply of weapons to Ukraine are both supported by around 40%, but 25% oppose these actions.

Find the study here (in German).

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