It's the stress of not knowing: a qualitative study of the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic among young adults in Canada
More details
Hide details
School of Public Health, University of Montreal, Canada
Centre de recherche en santé publique (CReSP), Canada
École de Santé publique de l'Université de Montréal, Université de Montréal, Canada
Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), Canada
Centre de Recherche en Santé Publique (CReSP), Canada
Centre de recherche du centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), Canada
Faculty of Health and Social Development and School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Canada
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A363
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted populations differently across age groups. Young adults were particularly affected by lockdowns and physical distancing measures put in place to limit the spread of the pandemic. Studies demonstrate that young adults were at increased risk of psychological distress, financial stress, and work-related instability when compared to older age groups. We conducted 25 semi-structured interviews between July and August 2021 with young adults (32-34 years old) to gain insights about their perspectives on the impacts of the pandemic on their wellbeing. Data were analyzed using a reflective thematic analysis. Our study findings revealed three distinct but interconnected themes. First, "Losing oneself in chaos," represents the participants feelings of losing their sense of self and hitting rock bottom. Second, "Gaining a sense of what matters" refers to a realization of some of the positive aspects of the pandemic, such as having more time for oneself and self-care. Third, "finding balance" reflects the need of participants to find meaning in their experiences of the pandemic and achieve balance between losses and gains. The impacts on mental health runs through the themes. Together, these themes describe the strength and the process of resilience among young adults in the context of unknown pandemic trajectories. Lessons can be learned from these findings to help inform responses to future pandemics: 1) Young adult mental health (and more specifically, facilitating the development of coping strategies) must be a public health priority; 2) Young adults’ coping strategies are not fixed in time; providing ongoing mental health services is therefore essential, even months after acute phases of pandemics are over. Although participants demonstrated great resilience and coping skills, ongoing support could have helped limit the negative mental health impacts brough forward by public health measures.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top