The COVID generation: Identifying risks and protective factors for young people's pathways through the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland Marieke Voorpostel
Núria Sánchez-Mira
Stephanie Steinmetz
Leen Vandecasteele

This project will analyse how the pandemic affected young people’s wellbeing, looking at who the groups most at risk were and examining policies and programmes put in place to support young people during this period.


Project description

The researchers will combine statistical analyses of drivers of youth wellbeing with an assessment of policy responses aimed at this group. They examine how young people fared before, during and after the pandemic and compare them with young people in earlier periods to determine which groups reported poorer wellbeing. The social support on which young people relied, their socio-economic resources and their pathways through education and employment will be looked at. The project gives an overview of the policy initiatives aimed at supporting young people during the pandemic. Experts in the field will be interviewed to establish if they reached the groups most at risk, what the major challenges were and what lessons were learnt for the development and implementation of future programmes.


Young people reported lower wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic than older age groups, but we do not know whether there have been long-term consequences or for which risk groups.

Given the urgency of the situation during the pandemic, policy responses were often assembled quickly, leaving no scope to reflect on what lessons could be learnt for future crises with respect to implementing responses and how effectively they reached the groups in need.


The project has two aims: first, to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected young people’s wellbeing in the medium term, and what the main underlying factors were. Second, by combining statistical findings and policy review, the project will identify potential coverage gaps as well as the strengths, challenges and shortcomings of policy implementation processes, from which lessons for the future can be drawn.


Issues relating to young people’s psychological wellbeing or mental health are key to the public debate in Switzerland, a concern increased during the pandemic. By identifying the main socio-economic drivers of wellbeing, the project will provide fundamental insights that will help in designing policies aimed at addressing these challenges. It will consider both the short-term impacts and longer-term effects and provide a critical assessment of the pandemic policy response in the Swiss context.


The project will provide valuable insights to inform the processes of policy design and implementation for the purposes of fostering resilience during future crises and establishing recommendations in the areas of priority-setting, coordination and evaluation. By working closely with important stakeholders and policymakers in the field, the project can make a long-lasting contribution to the development of better policies in this area.

Important links

This project is part of the National Research Pogramme COVID-19 in Society (NRP80) funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

More information on the project's website

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