Social work and social science

graphic showing silhouette of people - one person in a wheelchair

New report probes intergenerational concerns in pandemic times

University of Brighton has teamed with South East England Forum on Ageing (SEEFA) to explore potential intergenerational conflicts highlighted by COVID-19.

The report study – Understanding fairness between different generations in times of COVID-19  – was led by Dr Lizzie Ward,  Principal Research Fellow in the School of Applied Social Science. It was carried out under the auspices of the Care, Health and Emotional Well-being Research and Enterprise Group.  

The study surveyed perceptions and understandings among older and younger generations regarding inter-generational differences – as well as shared concerns – within the context of the coronavirus pandemic, exploring potential areas of tensions such as the need to protect older people versus ensuring an economic future for younger people.

The perception that the needs of one social group outweigh the needs of another puts a spotlight on broader existing debates about intergenerational divides, sometimes presented starkly as older people enjoying long-standing privileges and benefits, while younger people face hardships and uncertainty beyond their control.

Photo of Dr Lizzie WardDr Ward said:  “Overall, there appears to be a mutual recognition of the challenges each generation is facing and shared concerns in both generations about the social and economic impacts of the pandemic”.

The pandemic has also generated greater awareness of social care and the ways in which we look after older people with care needs, and exposed serious shortcomings in social care systems.

Peter Dale, Chair of SEEFA, said: “Seeking the views of older and younger people is a first step in establishing whether there is common ground between the generations, whether there is an appetite for an approach that unites the generations and creates a better world for all of us”.

Key findings from the study will be presented in an online launch plus panel discussion with Q&A on 8 July from 2pm-3.30pm, chaired by David Brindle, social commentator and former Guardian public services editor. To attend please register via Eventbrite.

The full report and findings can be downloaded via the CHEW Research and Enterprise Group website.  

Kerry Burnett • July 6, 2021


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