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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…
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.
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.
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.
Due to cross-sectional data, causal COVID-19 interpretations should be made cautiously.
Strong youth policies are needed for youth empowerment, mental health and career advancement in the pandemic aftermath.
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.
Purpose – Our study focuses on the impacts of young adults’ financial situation and agency on success and satisfaction regarding developmental tasks (attainments in…
Purpose – Our study focuses on the impacts of young adults’ financial situation and agency on success and satisfaction regarding developmental tasks (attainments in educational, work and social domains) in the context of economic upheavals.
Methodology/approach – The study is part of the longitudinal Finnish Educational Transitions Studies (FinEdu), in which high school students (N=614 at baseline) participated once before and three times after graduation (ages 19–25) while progressing to tertiary education and employment.
Findings – Agency (indicated by achievement and social approach strategies) increased, whereas achievement and social avoidance decreased from ages 19 to 25. Financial situation improved from an objective but not subjective perspective. Both high and increasing levels of agency were related to high levels of success and satisfaction regarding developmental tasks at age 25. In particular, social approach was related to educational attainment, sense of belonging, and romantic relationship satisfaction. High initial levels of agency and an improved financial situation predicted low economic pressure at age 25.
Research implications – Both sociopolitical structures and individual agency are important in shaping life course transitions in early adulthood. The apparent discrepancy between the macro-level national economic recession and young adults’ relatively high economic satisfaction could be explained by high agency in a welfare state context.
Social implications – The study shows important links between individuals’ life course and the societal context of Finland, a secure Nordic welfare state in the midst of global economic upheavals.
Originality/value of paper – Our longitudinal study makes a significant contribution to life course research by comprehensively conceptualizing the developmental tasks and considering their individual and social determinants.
Clifford Broman is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. His general research area is psychosocial factors in physical and emotional health. Recent research has focused on the role of race/ethnicity in substance use; psychosocial stress; and family formation behaviors and attitudes among African-Americans. His recent publications have appeared in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Race and Social Problems, and Psychological Services.
Beginning in 2007, many countries around the globe began to experience substantial downturns in their respective economies. Stock markets began to falter, unemployment rates began to climb, and it became readily apparent that a worldwide economic recession was underway.