The COVID-19 Pandemic and Young People: Pressure Before, Pressure Now and Pressure to Come

Robert MacDonald, Hannah King, Emma C Murphy, Wendy Gill

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


From March 2020, and the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, there was an explosion of expert opinion from politicians, scientists, policy makers, media pundits – but young people’s voices were rarely heard. They were far more likely to be talked about than talked to. What was said fell into well-worn tropes that represented young people as powerless victims (e.g. at risk of falling behind educationally) or trouble-some ‘super-spreaders’ who partied on, ignoring the lockdown rules. This exclusion of young people from discussions about the pandemic was the main driver for this research.
The aims of this report are to:

• present the views and experiences that young people had of the pandemic and lockdowns (from our research conducted contemporaneously in the North East of England and from other recent studies);
• situate this discussion in a longer-term, socio-historical context that acknowledges the preceding, already hostile conditions that faced young people in the UK in the early decades of the 21st century;
• identify some of the future implications of the pandemic and pressures to come for young people, particularly in respect of the labour market;
• set out some imperatives for future youth research and youth policy.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherYouth Futures Foundation
Commissioning bodyYouth Futures Foundation
Number of pages62
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


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