Preparing for the post-pandemic challenges
“Whereas most young people have a low risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, they are an important link in the transmission chain. Also, they might find it particularly hard to accept and comply with governmental guidelines and measures to prevent and control the disease. Some of the measures may further interfere disproportionally with their development and result in short- and long-term consequences for their education, professional careers, economic situation, psychosocial development, and mental health”, explains Robin Samuel, principal investigator of the research project.
To identify the short-term and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people, the researchers can build on a well-established project in Luxembourg. “In 2019, we already collected data regarding the situation of young people in Luxembourg within the framework of the Youth Survey Luxembourg. Currently, we are working on the next national youth report, where we focus on well-being and health. This work made us aware of the many impacts this pandemic could have on
young people", says Samuel", says Samuel. “Therefore, we decided to launch a specific survey addressing the current situation. The questions relate to the ways in which young people living in Luxembourg comply with and accept the official measures for the prevention and control of COVID-19. Thanks to the pre-pandemic baseline that we collected earlier, we will be able to identify the economic, psychosocial and health consequences of these measures during and after the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Inequalities on the radar
The impacts of the pandemic on our lives are far from being over. In order to monitor these over time, the researchers decided to carry out several data collections over the coming years. "The first collection is about to take place, the next one will take place in 2021. Finally, we will organize a third collection, in 2023/24 when we will also collect data for the next round of the Youth Survey Luxembourg", specifies the head of the Centre for Childhood and Youth Research. The project team will further conduct focused one-to-one interviews and closely collaborates with the „Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children”
Inequalities between and within socio-demographic and socio-economic groups are of particular interest for the researchers. "A health crisis of such magnitude could create what is sometimes called a ‘lost generation’", says the researcher. He adds: "take for example someone who is currently looking for a first job. If this person manages to find a job at all, there might be risks of being disadvantaged in terms of salary due to the economic situation, compared with people who entered the labor market in the previous years. This difficult start to the working life could leave scars throughout the career, for example associated with lower income and higher risks of unemployment”.
By analyzing their representative sample, the researchers hope to gain insights that will further help the government to make informed decisions. The project is in any case already recognized by the National Research Fund which selected it among 16 others in its first FNR COVID-19 Fast Track Call.
Researchers from the University of Luxembourg have published preliminary results of the study about young people and COVID-19 (YAC) led by Robin Samuel.
More than 50% of the teenagers and young adults in Luxembourg say they are concerned about COVID-19 and the possible changes induced by the pandemic. In general, the level of concern appears to be more pronounced among young adults than among teenagers. Almost 80% of the teenagers and young adults say that they are “very well” or “well” informed about the measures against COVID-19.
The report concludes that young people seem to be aware of their responsibility in containing the spread of the coronavirus. Most of them claim to have the necessary information and the means to act responsibly. Negative effects of COVID-19 and the measures against COVID-19 are apparent, but do not seem to be predominant among young people.
The report on the preliminary results focuses on COVID-19 specific aspects, such as measures implemented, as well as on opinions and feelings among young people