As hard as the pandemic is for people from all walks of life, a new study shows it has been particularly unsettling for teenagers. The study reveals that the pandemic and lockdowns are contributing to the emotional discomfort in teenagers.
The study is by The University of Manchester and Liverpool John Moores University. In May, the researchers took to asking young people of ages 19 to 16 to talk about their experiences during the lockdown. Over 100 teenagers sent in their responses and the researchers then carried out their analysis of their accounts to understand what experience the group had during the quarantine.
They looked at the feelings these teenagers drew from the experience of how they chose to cope with the uncertainty.
They discovered that the year has been a year of many emotional extremes for teenagers. Not only have the youngsters experienced the intensity of feeling, but they have also picked up changes, felt loss, and the uncertainty that comes with a world health crisis. While there are several who feel they skipped important experiences in life others, while others feel emotional discomfort about what the future holds.
2020 has been quite a turbulent one for teenagers especially. The drastic changes in their day-to-day lives have led many into dismay. The normal teenage experiences such as going out with friends, taking exams, experiencing the last day of school, and the future in general have made many feel as if they were missing out.
While some have found solace in trying to connect to those closest to them, many have experienced social disconnect in several ways. At times even internet contact with friends has fallen short of the face to face experience. Some do however take courage from the fact that a lot of people are experiencing what they are feeling and that they are not alone. The study also found that some teenagers felt strongly about how their government was tackling the pandemic.
The lockdown has not however been all about bad experiences. In varying ways, teenagers have enjoyed the lifting of everyday pressures of a normal routine. They take advantage of the important opportunity they have received to grow personally and develop into who they need to be. This is a reminder for the expectations teenagers shoulder daily.
Dr. Ola Demkowicz is a lecturer in Psychology of Education at The University of Manchester, she is also the principal investigator on the study. She explains that the study only goes to show how much adversity this year has presented teenagers. She discussed how vital it is to remember to prioritize their mental health and wellbeing as the universities and schools prepare to reopen. Their emotional discomfort should also be taken into notice.
When the world does reopen, she believes it imperative that we realize how much sacrifice even young people have given in this time and the best that can be done for them is to provide a sense of normalcy to them. Providing teenagers a smooth transition into the uncertain future, as well as the job market will only be the responsible thing to do.