OK Boomer: A decade of generational differences in feelings about climate change

Janet K. Swim, Rosemary Aviste, Michael L. Lengieza, Carlie J. Fasano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The emergence of concern about and evidence of climate change has been argued to create a cultural milieu unique to the Millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1996) and iGeneration (aka iGens or Generation Z born after 1997). The present research tested a) claims of unique angst about climate change among younger versus older generations, b) growing generational discrepancies over time in emotions about climate change, c) generational differences for several emotions about climate change, and d) the implications of these emotions for motivating people to discuss climate change with others, potentially aiding coping with climate change and facilitating action to address climate change. Survey data gathered from 2010 to 2019 of a representative sample of United States residents (N = 22,468) document greater increases in worry about climate change and, to a lesser degree, anger and guilt about climate change, within the two youngest generations relative to changes among Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent and Greatest Generations. Although generational differences were small and suggest overstatements of unique effects for younger generations, increases in younger generations’ emotions transform into the two youngest generations reporting the strongest emotions in 2019. Over ten years, these differential shifts in emotions explain more substantial increases in the frequency of discussing climate in the youngest generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102479
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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