Sunday, January 29, 2012

How young adults handle epidemics

A study from the University of Michigan recently outlined how young adults handle epidemics such as the H1N1 influenza. The study was a survey of 3,000 people and focused mostly on people in their 30s, finding that only 20% of those surveyed had been vaccinated during the 2009-10 H1N1 scare. However, about two thirds of them said that they were following the issue closely and "moderately concerned, " which apparently is not concerned enough to be vaccinated (come to think of it, I can't think of one person I know in my age group who got the vaccine either). Even though they felt "well-informed" or even "very well-informed" on the topic, the average scores on an influenza knowledge test were "moderately informed."

The study went on to break down the behavior of this group further: adults with young children at home were the most likely to pay attention to news concerning the epidemic. Most people got news from friends, family, and coworkers (but where did the friends, family and coworkers get their news from?) They most trusted doctors and most mistrusted Wikipedia. Overall, this generation was said to have done "reasonably well in their first encounter with a major epidemic" by the author of the report, Jon D. Miller.

--Sarah Kaewert

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