Prof. Dr Robin Samuel is Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Childhood and Youth Research (CCY) at the University of Luxembourg.
Young People and COVID-19 (YAC)
Mixed-methods study on young people and COVID-19 in Luxembourg
How do young people in Luxembourg deal with the social, economic and health consequences of COVID-19 prevention? Are they complying with the pandemic containment measures? Are there differences by gender, age, or social status? Answers to these questions are provided by Young People and COVID-19, the most comprehensive COVID-19 study in Luxembourg based on random sampling.
What is the YAC study all about?
Young people are at low risk for severe disease due to COVID-19, but they are an important link in the transmission chain. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, initial studies indicated that adolescents and young adults may find it particularly difficult to accept and comply with government policies and measures to prevent and control the disease. Additionally, some of the measures taken could severely impact young people’s development. What are the short-, medium-, and long-term consequences of lockdowns, contact restrictions, and school closures on education, careers, economic status, psychosocial development, and mental health?
The YAC study generates knowledge needed to address the challenges associated with the COVID-19 crisis. To do so, it examines how young people in Luxembourg comply with and accept government measures to prevent and control infection with COVID-19. It also identifies the economic, psychosocial, and health consequences of these measures during and after the COVID-19 pandemic compared to a pre-pandemic baseline that we were able to collect in 2019. Of particular interest are inequalities between and within socioeconomic groups, between different age groups, or between genders in the uptake and consequences of the measures.
The University of Luxembourg (uni.lu) and the Ministry of Education, Childhood and Youth (MENJE) are funding the YAC study Young People and COVID-19, and the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) has co-funded the 2020 and 2021 YAC survey.
What data is the YAC study based on?
The YAC study is a comprehensive mixed-methods study based on random sampling of Luxembourg residents aged 12 to 29. More than 3000 young people are interviewed in each survey period.
In 2020, the year the YAC study was created, the project benefited from existing studies at the Centre for Childhood and Youth Research that were already addressing health issues among children and adolescents in Luxembourg: the research designs of the HBSC study Health Behavior in School-Aged Children, as well as the 2019 Youth Survey Luxembourg, made it possible to quickly set up a COVID-19-specific study.
The online questionnaires of the YAC study are based on the Youth Survey Luxembourg in terms of content at each survey stage. In addition, they use indicators that are well established in international science. This makes the YAC study comparable to the analyses of other studies. Furthermore, this ensures the validity of the chosen indicators. COVID-19 specific question blocks, which are missing in the Youth Survey Luxembourg, give the YAC study its special focus on the pandemic. For these questions, other research teams based in Luxembourg were partly contacted in order to be able to collect comparable questionnaires on e.g. vaccination status and vaccination readiness across the young target group.
The YAC survey, like the Youth Survey Luxembourg, collects data on relevant areas such as education and employment, social situation, and health. The age range of respondents is wider in the YAC study than in the Youth Survey Luxembourg: children and adolescents aged 12 to 15 are surveyed only in the YAC study, but not in the Youth Survey. Young people up to age 29 are surveyed by both studies.
To ensure that the data are representative of this target group, researchers submit a request to the Center for Information Technologies of the State (CTIE), which can select individuals from the National Register of Persons (RNPP). The CTIE identifies eligible participants using a proportionally stratified random sample. This considers the distribution by age, sex, and canton.
In order to assess the situation at the beginning and later in the pandemic, the YAC study provides for several survey periods: For example, individual surveys have been conducted so far in 2020 and 2021.
In the first survey year, 2020, researchers supplemented the standardized, representative survey with qualitative interviews. Given the novel pandemic situation, they thus gained a deeper understanding of the situation and obtained subjective assessments of adolescents and young adults. This qualitative approach was not continued in the follow-up survey in 2021.
What publications accompany the YAC surveys?
Each YAC survey (2020, 2021, …) includes a preliminary data report, a key data sheet, and a technical report. Furthermore, selected results will be published in technical journals.
Preliminary data reports
The Preliminary Data Report puts the results of the analysis into words. Patterns, trends, and relationships that researchers encounter in the survey data are summarized in this report in a preliminary evaluation. This form of presentation allows a broad audience to access the new findings. It is written in all major languages of Luxembourg: Luxembourgish, French, German, Portuguese and, of course, English.
Key data sheets
The key data sheet conveys supplemental information to the preliminary data report. It functions as an appendix for extensive tables and graphs that would take up too much space in the main report.
The technical report provides comprehensive information on the methodological parameters of the corresponding survey year of the YAC study. The report provides information on the development and conceptual basis of the questionnaire, the approach to sampling, data collection, and processing of the data set. This information allows the data basis and development of the survey to be traced – from the planning to the final analysis of the data set.
Why is the YAC study important?
The YAC survey provides a broad and thorough assessment of the short-, medium-, and long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis on young people’s lives. We make the results of each survey available here on an ongoing basis. They support fact-based policymaking against a backdrop of global research gaps in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the findings are incorporated into many youth research projects at the Centre for Childhood and Youth Research, such as the Luxembourg 2020 Youth Report or publications within the framework of the Youth Survey Luxembourg.
YAC study publication feed
Scientific publications from the YAC study are emerging in the Youth Research Unit at the Center for Childhood and Youth Research (CCY) at the University of Luxembourg. Discover the feed of the YAC study: