New research suggests that millennials are more skeptical of U.S. institutions, including the government and the media, than were previous generations.
The study, which will be published this month in the journal Psychological Science, found that young people's trust levels "hit an all-time low in 2012," according to The Associated Press. Jean Twenge, the study's lead author, suggests that events like mass shootings, the Great Recession, and sex scandals in the church may contribute to millennials' negative opinion of various institutions. The study looked at the country's General Social Survey and the University of Michigan's "Monitoring the Future" survey, which polls roughly 140,000 high school seniors each year.
In 2012, 16 percent of high school seniors surveyed agreed with the statement that "most people can be trusted." Eighteen percent of high school seniors agreed with the statement in the early 1990s, and roughly a third of high school seniors agreed with the statement in the mid-1970s.
In addition to the general statement about "most people," millennial approval of institutions, including Congress, the media, and various religious groups, decreased at a greater rate than in other generations, which the University of Georgia researchers attribute, at least in part, to the Sept. 11 attacks. From 2010 to 2012, only 22 percent of high school seniors thought Congress was doing a "good" or "very good" job, while 49 percent of high school seniors said the same from 2000 to 2002.