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Adolescents’ and young people’s experiences of social relationships and health concerns during COVID-19
University of Borås, Faculty of Caring Science, Work Life and Social Welfare. Department of Caring Science, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden. (Tillämpad vård och kommunikationsforskning)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9194-3244
Department of Pedagogy and Learning, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6357-6491
Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9513-6861
Thomas Coram Research Unit, University College London, London, UK.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3437-3759
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2023 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, ISSN 1748-2623, E-ISSN 1748-2631, Vol. 18, article id 2251236Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

To illuminate the meaning of social relationships and health concerns as experienced by adolescents and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods

A longitudinal qualitative study was conducted. Data reported from 172 adolescents and young people aged 12–24 years in five countries; Chile, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States collected from May 2020 to June 2021 were analysed via thematic analysis.

Results

Adolescents and young peoples’ experiences of social relationships and health concerns were described in seven themes: Family proximity, conflicts and frustration; difficulties and challenges related to limited living space; peer relations and maintaining friendship in times of social distancing; the importance of school as a place for interaction; vulnerability, emotional distress and uncertainty about the future; health concerns and sense of caring for others; and worries and concerns related to financial hardship. These reports show that the changes to everyday life that were introduced by public responses to the pandemic generated feelings of loneliness, vulnerability, and emotional distress, as well as increased sense of togetherness with family.

Conclusions

The everyday lives of adolescents and young people were restricted and affected more by the consequences of the pandemic than by the COVID-19 virus. These experiences had various impacts on well-being and mental health, where some individuals felt more exposed and vulnerable to emotional distress and loneliness than others. Family and peer relationships could be protective and support a sense of togetherness and belonging. Hence, social relationships are important to provide emotional support. Support for adolescents and young people should be tailored accordingly around social and emotional concerns, to encourage health and well-being.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 18, article id 2251236
Keywords [en]
Experiences, pandemic, youth, qualitative research, thematic analysis
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-31046DOI: 10.1080/17482631.2023.2251236ISI: 001056903500001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85168924467OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-31046DiVA, id: diva2:1820926
Available from: 2023-12-19 Created: 2023-12-19 Last updated: 2024-02-01Bibliographically approved

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Sundler, Annelie JohanssonDarcy, Laura

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