Is the Young Generation Lost?

Welcome back to my blog! We have been exploring the exciting topic of how Biblical truth enhances personal wellbeing.

Many of us “older wiser” folk J fear the younger generation, the Millennials, are leaving Christianity and do not realize its values. Such data have come from a number of respected survey houses. I thought Teleios should examine the question as well, but in more detail regarding the perceived value of Christianity in daily life.

We randomly surveyed 105 students at the University of Georgia in Athens for influences on their wellbeing, their ability to recognize advice from an individual source, its perceived benefit as contributing to wellbeing, and how they would respond to this advice.

This survey showed) that college students believe that maintenance of good health and close relations with friends, family and God, as well as satisfaction with career goals, are important to wellbeing! Detractions from wellbeing were noted most often as poor health, bad self-image and stress/fatigue from course work. Please see tables below.

When students were provided a list of advice statements from an undisclosed source, in the majority of cases students agreed the provided statements were wise.  They mostly common identified: be grateful, be slow to speak and quick to listen, and work hard to provide for yourself and others, to be sage advice. Most students correctly identified the advice statements as coming from the Bible. When the students were told on the survey the advice statements were indeed paraphrased from the Bible, and were asked how they would change their relationship to the source of the guidance, 57% indicated they would seek further advice from the Bible and most of the remaining group said they would at least maintain their current knowledge base.

What motivated their responses? I can think of several choices:

·       There is a predominant Christian culture in the Southeastern United States that may have eased acceptance of the maxims coming from this religion.

·       Many students may have possessed already a Christian commitment and recognized the importance of such advice in their lives apart from any cultural influence.

·       Some student may have suffered enough emotional trials in their life to attract them to the wisdom and its source.

Of interest was the low number of respondents who indicated sexual relations, drugs/alcohol or social media were a source of positive wellbeing. These factors have been studied in the last generation and have been shown potentially to reduce wellbeing when used in excess.1-3 The results of our survey, however, are positive in that it appears the great majority of students limited their dependence on these activities increasing their wellbeing.

So good news! College students most commonly identify health, close relationships with family, friends, and God, as well as satisfaction with career goals, as positive sources of wellbeing. Further, about half are willing to pursue Biblical knowledge to change their lives and most of the rest recognize the wisdom of Biblical advice.

To ponder, do you think differences existed in wellbeing between students depending on their desire to pursue Biblical wisdom, and why?  

Table 1: What most commonly improves wellbeing?
(more than one choice possible)
(N = 105)
Responses
N
Percentage
Maintenance of good health and/or sporting activities
76
72%
A close relationship with family
76
72%
A close relationship with friends
76
72%
A close relationship with God
60
57%
Satisfaction with my professional career goals
56
53%

Table 2: What most commonly detracts from general wellbeing?
(more than one choice possible)
(N = 105)
Responses
N
Percentage
Lack of vigor, energy, optimal health
67
64%
Poor self-image
67
64%
Stress/fatigue from university course work
67
64%
Lack of sense of purpose with my studies/career goals
52
50%

Thanks for visiting. I look forward to your comments and questions.

WC Stewart


1.     Dietze, P., Jenkinson, R., Aitken, C., Stoové, M., Jolley, D., Hickman, M., & Kerr, T. (2013). The relationship between alcohol use and injecting drug use: impacts on health, crime and wellbeing. Drug Alcohol Depend, 128, 111-115. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.08.013
2.     Becker, M.W., Alzahabi, R., & Hopwood, C.J. (2013). Media multitasking is associated with symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw, 16, 132-135. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2012.0291
3.     Fielder, R.L., Walsh, J.L., Carey, K.B., & Carey, M.P. (2014). Sexual hookups and adverse health outcomes: a longitudinal study of first-year college women. J Sex Res, 51, 131-144. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2013.848255

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