“The COVID-19 Generation”: A Cautionary Note


With COVID-19 presenting as a global pandemic, we have noticed an emerging rhetoric concerning “the COVID- 19 Generation,” both anecdotally and across various media outlets. The narratives advanced to support such rhetoric have distinct implications for the study of work, aging, and retirement. In this commentary, we review this emerging issue and present evidence against attempts to define “the COVID-19 Generation” as a new construct along conceptual, methodological, as well as practical lines, with a specific focus on identifying real dangers associated with investigating and potentially managing a new generation associated with this pandemic. We strongly caution against the adoption of “the COVID-19 Generation” as a concept of study and instead offer several suggestions to researchers, organizations, and practitioners seeking answers to complicated questions about links between COVID- 19 and various processes relevant to work, aging, and retirement during this time of uncertainty.

Work, Aging & Retirement
Cort W. Rudolph
Associate Professor of Industrial & Organizational Psychology