College of Education Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education



First Advisor

Amira Proweller, PhD

Second Advisor

Karen Monkman, PhD

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Kuzmic, PhD


Americans born between 1982 and 1995 (the “millennial” generation) are coming of age and entering adulthood during a time of historically significant economic recession. This study uses qualitative data derived from online sources to explore the effect of this experience on the values, feelings, and beliefs of these young adults regarding economic participation, education, and adulthood. Results indicate that millennials feel isolated, ashamed, fearful, and angry about their circumstances. Some feel so hopeless that mental health problems result. The neoliberal ideology widely prevalent in American culture is identified as a strong contributing factor to this situation. Educators are encouraged to recognize this reality and address structural reasons for the situation, alleviating the self-blame and shame young people experience.

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