Young adults' personal concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic in Finland: an issue for social concern

Mette Ranta (Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland)
Gintautas Silinskas (Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Terhi-Anna Wilska (Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 5 November 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This study focuses on how young adults face the COVID-19 pandemic by investigating their personal concerns about mental well-being, career/studies and economic situation. The authors investigated how young adults' (aged 18–29) personal concerns differ from older people's concerns (aged 30–65) and which person- and context-related antecedents relate to personal concerns.

Design/methodology/approach

Data of Finnish young adults aged 18–29 (n = 222), who participated in the “Corona Consumers” survey (N = 1,000) in April 2020, were analyzed by path analysis and compared to participants aged 30–65 by independent samples t-test.

Findings

Young adults were significantly more concerned about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental well-being, career/studies and economic situation than older people. Females were more concerned about their mental well-being than males. Among youth, lower life satisfaction was related to concerns about mental well-being, and lower satisfaction with financial situation was related to concerns about career/studies and economic situation. Young adults' predisposition to avoid difficult situations was related to more frequent concerns in all domains, whereas generalized trust and education were not.

Research limitations/implications

Due to cross-sectional data, causal COVID-19 interpretations should be made cautiously.

Practical implications

Strong youth policies are needed for youth empowerment, mental health and career advancement in the pandemic aftermath.

Originality/value

The study highlights the inequality of the effects of COVID-19: The pandemic has radically influenced young adults as they exhibit significant personal concerns in age-related life domains.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The entire research process of this study was funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland (Grant numbers #327237 and #327242).

Citation

Ranta, M., Silinskas, G. and Wilska, T.-A. (2020), "Young adults' personal concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic in Finland: an issue for social concern", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 40 No. 9/10, pp. 1201-1219. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-07-2020-0267

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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