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Publication Detail
A qualitative study of positive psychological experiences and helpful coping behaviours among young people and older adults in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Ooi L, Paul E, Burton A, Fancourt D, McKinlay AR
  • Publisher:
    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    PLoS ONE
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Article number:
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  • Notes:
    Copyright: © 2023 Ooi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
While much research has focused on challenges that younger and older people have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, little attention has been given to the capacity for resilience among these groups. We therefore explored positive psychological experiences and coping behaviours that protected mental health and well-being. Participants were 40 young people (aged 13–24) and 28 older adults (aged 70+) living in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews were held between May 2020 and January 2021. We generated six themes using qualitative thematic analysis, including: engagement in self-fulfilling activities, increased sense of social cohesion, personal growth, use of problem-focused strategies to manage pandemic-related stressors, giving and receiving social and community support, and utilising strategies to regulate thoughts and emotions. While all six themes were relevant both to younger and older adults, there were nuances in how each was experienced and enacted. For example, many older adults adjusted their routines given worries about virus vulnerability, while some young people experienced greater personal growth amidst increased awareness of mental health as they navigated the various lockdown restrictions.
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