New survey reveals pandemic impact on Canadian youth

December 03, 2021

Teen looking into middle space, by window -Photo by nastya_gepp (Pixabay)

Photo by nastya_gepp (Pixabay)

The emotional toll of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic weighed heavily on everyone in Canada: young and old. Nevertheless, the sense of loss was perhaps most evident on the country’s teens as their world stopped spinning instantly and pivoted quickly to a virtual space.

While adept (more than most age groups) at navigating school and friendships via Zoom, FaceTime and other social media platforms, this technological ability didn’t mitigate teens experiencing psychological distress. It did, however, equip many of them with the skills, strategies and tools necessary to survive and even thrive during this unprecedented time in world history.

Faculty and students at Western University’s Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) connected with Canadians aged 13-19 years via a youth-informed, cross-sectional online survey to better understand the effects of the pandemic on teens. They found many adopted positive coping strategies during the first 12 months of the pandemic to de-stress, including physical activity, safe peer interactions and hobbies.

The study, led by HEAL director Jason Gilliland and postdoctoral associate Kendra Nelson Ferguson, asked two simple, open-ended questions: “What feelings and emotions have you experienced around the pandemic?” and “What coping strategies have you used during the pandemic?”

Read the full story by Jeff Renaud at Western News