Michigan Association of Health Plans

What Do Teens and Young Adults Need to Get Through the Pandemic? Survey Gives Insights

Last spring, the pandemic sent teens and young adults home from high school or college, derailed their sports and activities and sent them into “essential” workplaces that carried a new health risk. Now that summer has come and gone, though, they’re facing months more of living, learning and working all while trying to have a social life in the time of COVID-19.

But what do people in their teens and early 20s need to help them get through these times?

New data from the MyVoice study, based at the University of Michigan, gives some important insights.

The text-message-based survey, which is in its fourth year, seeks to find out what it’s really like to be a young person in the United States right now, with an emphasis on health-related topics.

In a new paper, a new report and newly released prepublication insights, the team probes the pandemic’s effects on youth and suggests ways to help in the months ahead, says study leader Tammy Chang, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.

She and her colleagues – many of them in their teens and 20s themselves – analyzed the replies they received in several recent surveys of a diverse pool of nearly 1,000 respondents aged 14 to 24 across the country.

“The overarching theme in our data is that young people are trying to do the right thing and trying to adapt, but aren’t always able to apply the rules in their real-world lives, and leaders aren’t giving them clear options on how to do so,” says Chang, an assistant professor of family medicine who focuses on adolescent health at Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center. “People think that socialization is just leisure, but for adolescents it’s required for proper development. We need to give clear messaging about safe ways to do the things young people need to do in order to grow and develop, and support them in learning and working in these times.”

This article was originally featured in the University of Michigan Health Blog, read more here.