Have the stressful events of 2020 hindered social development?

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The social development of young people has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and other world events

The world has certainly witnessed many stresses since 2020 – some of which may have influenced the social development of young adults.

For young adults, who are living life at a critical time, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, global coverage of the tragic murder of George Floyd, and many political affairs such as the United States presidential election can have had a more profound effect impact on them than other age groups.

Researchers have found that young adulthood can be shaped by external events – and the effect of stressors on social development can hinder positive aging.

External stressors and environmental variations can put young adults on a less fortunate path

Lead author Dr Bühler of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz said: “If all goes well, young adults select social networks, initiate friendships and romantic relationships and find their professional niche. Our results show, however, that external stressors and environmental variations can put young adults on a less fortunate path.

“Environmental conditions and contexts are critical to development because they provide the opportunities people need to develop in healthy ways. In the case of 2020, the average youngster may have had fewer of these opportunities, causing fear and anxiety while potentially hindering their development.

Demonstration for George Floyd in New York
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What factors have hindered social development?

The researchers compared the social development of 415 young adults in 2020 with that of 465 young adults in 2019.

The participants, ages 18 to 35, continually provided updates on several factors affecting their development to those conducting the study.

Participants in 2020 said they had decreased levels of intimacy and relationship satisfaction over time, however, the group that was surveyed in 2019 reported slightly higher levels of social support and inclusion over time. over time.

Although the changes were not drastic, the lead author pointed out that small effects can have lasting consequences – potentially influencing worse social interactions that could lead to anxiety or depression.

The degree and development of loneliness WAS similar

However, one aspect of social functioning that did not appear to be affected by 2020 stressors was loneliness.

Dr. Bühler concluded: “Regardless of whether the young adults were exposed to collective stressors or not, the degree and development of their loneliness was similar.

Finally, to combat these negative outcomes in the lives of those affected, the researchers suggest examining the coping mechanisms of those less affected to potentially lead to more effective resources and support for young adults.

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Joel C. Hicks