Unsettled by the market's ups and downs, the younger generation, a "traditionally optimistic and aggressive group of investors," may have lost its appetite for risk, according to a recent report by Spectrem Group.

Investors considered to be a part of Generation X and Generation Y reported being even more wary of stocks than baby boomers and older generations.

"Historically you would think younger investors always think about the long term, but if you think about the last five years for younger investors, it has been a pretty rocky road and depending on their age they haven't really experienced the 10 years before that in terms of the great uptick so the volatility and the concern over the economy and jobs has made this group even more conservative than that same age group 15 years ago," George Walper, president of Spectrem, said over the phone. 

Twenty-eight percent of those from Gen X and Y were most likely to run to gold in uncertain markets, compared to only 11% of 50-something investors and 8% of 60-something investors. Second to gold, 27% of young investors say that they would turn to money market mutual funds and another 16% said they would turn to products insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

On the other hand, the older generation has maintained some level of confidence in equities and has "emerged from the recession more willing to take investment risk," the report said. A total of 29% of investors in their 50s and 38% in their 60's said they would go to dividend stocks during volatile markets. Walper attributes some of that to their desire for income producing funds and a low interest rate environment.

"That's income producing for them given how low interest rates are for money market funds and such, so therefore income producing stocks become a better alternative and tax rates are lower," Walper said.

Mason Braswell writes for On Wall Street.