Nearly half of young people see only negative effects of COVID-19 crisis

Health and welfare | 29-04-2022 14:04

In the first few months of 2021, 47 percent of young people in the Netherlands between the ages of 12 and 25 indicated that their lives were negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis in general. Another 43 percent experienced both negative and positive consequences. A majority really missed doing fun things outside and meeting up with friends or family at home. Young people also say that the coronavirus crisis has caused them to experience more stress about their education or work. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has reported this based on a survey entitled ‘Perceptions 2021’.

The Perceptions survey was conducted from early February to mid-April 2021, during the third wave of the coronavirus crisis. During this period, various measures such as restrictions on home visits and a curfew were in place. Schools, sports clubs and the hospitality industry were also (partially) closed. In the same period, the first relaxation of measures was cautiously implemented, including partial re-opening of secondary (vocational) schools, more possibilities for outdoor sports and a higher maximum number of visitors at home.

43 percent saw both positive and negative consequences

Forty-seven percent of young people reported that the coronavirus crisis had a very negative or negative effect on their lives in general. A slightly smaller share (43 percent) experienced both negative and positive effects. Of the young adults (18 to 24 years), 53 percent said that the coronavirus crisis affected their lives (very) negatively. This share was substantially larger than among teenagers (38 percent). Young men were slightly more likely than young women to report only negative effects on their lives. Among the teenagers, there was no difference in response between boys and girls.

Doing fun things and meeting up with friends or family were missed the most

Doing fun things outside (going to the cinema, eating out, going out) or meeting up with friends or family at home were missed the most by young people, with shares of 67 and 60 percent respectively. Almost half (47 percent) missed going to big events, such as festivals, sporting events and concerts, very much.

Of those in education, 28 percent missed going to school or university very much. This was felt most strongly by students in higher education. More than half of the WO students said they missed university very much when they were not able to attend. In the group of HBO students, 40 percent missed going to school very much.

Young adults more affected than teenagers

For most of the activities listed in the survey, young adults were more likely to say they missed them very much due to the crisis than teenagers. The largest difference was seen in the attendance of large events (55 percent of young adults against 35 percent of teenagers).

More stressed about school or studies due to coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus crisis has also led to increased stress. For example, 48 percent of all young people in education say they were more stressed about their education as a result of the crisis than before, while 17 percent experienced less stress. In secondary education, the share reporting more stress about school was highest among students enrolled in HAVO. Students in secondary vocational (MBO) and in higher professional education (HBO) were most likely to report increased stress on account of the crisis.

A quarter experienced more work-related stress

Almost one quarter of young people in work between the ages of 15 and 25 believed the coronavirus crisis gave them more work-related stress. Over 10 percent said they were less affected rather than more. The share indicating that work-related stress increased as a result of the crisis was almost double among young people in work compared to those with side jobs (32 versus 17 percent).

How were these figures obtained by CBS?

The results have been taken from the ‘Perceptions’ survey that was conducted from early February to mid-April 2021. Based on a sample that was drawn from the Personal Records Database (BRP), CBS asked young people aged 12 to 24 years to complete an online survey on how they self-perceived their well-being, stress level and the impact of the coronavirus crisis. To ensure that the group of respondents reflected the entire young population of the Netherlands, a correction was applied to the results to take into account factors such as sex, age, migration background, educational enrolment and country region.