Only about a fifth of young adults in their late 30s received a flu shot during the 2009-2010 swine flu epidemic, according to a report on the behavior and attitudes of Generation X.

While 65 percent of Generation X adults were at least moderately concerned about the flu and a majority felt they were either “well informed” or “very informed”, on average they scored only moderately well on an Index of Influenza Knowledge, a test with five questions designed to test the level of knowledge about viral infections and about the swine flu epidemic.

Researchers from the University of Michigan used survey data collected from approximately 3,000 young adults during the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza epidemic and found that young adults in Generation did “reasonably well” in their first encounter with a major epidemic.

Young adults with children at home had higher levels of awareness and concerns because they were at the greatest risk.

Researchers also found that Generation Xers were also nine times more likely to get information about the epidemic from friends, co-workers and family members, five times from searching on the internet and three times likely to get news from print or broadcast media. 

Individuals from Generation X trusted sources of information about the epidemic were from doctors, followed by the National Institutes of Health, pharmacists and nurses.  The least trusted sources were YouTube videos, drug company commercials and Wikipedia articles.

"In the decades ahead, the young adults in Generation X will encounter numerous other crises—some biomedical, some environmental, and others yet to be imagined," Jon Miller, author of The Generation X Report said. "They will have to acquire, organize and make sense of emerging scientific and technical information, and the experience of coping with the swine flu epidemic suggests how they will meet that challenge."