A climate of doom

Date of publication: June 15, 1982

Author: Arnold de Vos

Abstract:

Intrigued by many references to a possible climate of doom in the Netherlands and a lack of social research related to this subject, the Nederlandse Stichting voor Statistiek (NSS) undertook a study of this phenomenon. Based upon the research it was concluded that a climate of doom indeed existed in the Netherlands -1981 and it probably still exists. Present conditions were judged negatively by the public in many domains and the outlook for the near and distant future was pessimistic on many counts. Moreover other theoretical prerequisites for a climate of doom - a generalized anxiety concerning future catastrophes and awareness by the public itself of such a climate - were shown to be fulfilled. It could also be shown that a gloomy outlook regarding the distant future was related to the nature of the judgement in regard to the present situation. In relation to the research project the probable causes and consequences of a climate of doom were discussed. Attention has been paid to the tendency in some research to equate a climate of opinion with findings concerning satisfaction with life as a subjective indicator. It is argued that there are several good reasons why this practice should be discouraged.

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