Since March we are confronted with the corona crisis. The government took drastic measures like a lockdown, restriction of social contacts and closure of schools, all to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. From March onwards, the research group 'Developmental Psychology' of Ghent University will investigate the psychological well-being and the motivation of the population to comply with these measures. With our results, we directly advise the CELEVAL and, by extension, the federal policy level. However, adolescents are a group we do not know enough about, a goal we want to work on with this research.
The corona study: the motivation barometer
Since 19 March 2020, we have been conducting a survey on the psychological well-being and motivation of the population to comply with the corona measures. We have already collected data from more than 80 000 people and have written 14 reports on developments and certain themes (e.g. introduction of compulsory mouth masks, government communication, Mother's Day, etc.). We also collected data from students, parents, teleworkers and elderly people.
As the corona crisis progressed, our research gained more interest at the policy level. In April, for example, we proposed the idea of working through a colour-coded system, an idea that only came up at the end of November. Professor Maarten Vansteenkiste - spokesperson and researcher responsible for the corona study - is currently acting as an advisor to the CELEVAL where he strives to be able to make evidence-based decisions about the corona measures. The study is still ongoing and currently involves more than 80 000 people, mostly women, with an average age of 50 years. It is also used as a key non-medical indicator to inform certain federal decisions.
The need for the voice of the high school student
To comply with ethical guidelines, we could only collect data from participants older than 18 years. As a result, we are insufficiently informed about the psychological well-being and perception of the adolescent during this coronary crisis, while this is an underestimated and vulnerable group. Their social contacts were curtailed, they had to switch to digital education and many plans (e.g. visiting festivals, holiday jobs, travelling) fell through. For these reasons, we organized the current research, in which we are curious about the position of the high school student in this COVID-19 crisis.
Organisation research 'corona at the school desk
- What: Through the current research we want to find out how the high school student experiences the current corona crisis. This is important because adolescence is a crucial period in human psychological development. Many emotional, cognitive and social skills go through fundamental developments. In addition, we do not lose sight of the teacher and - in order to take his/her experience into account - we will also provide the teacher with a short questionnaire.
- The aim is to use these results to write evidence-based advice for the policy level and to contribute to the scientific literature.
- How? Because there is a lot of uncertainty and times are unstable, we want to question the students several times to take into account certain evolutions in their actions and feelings. This is done through online questionnaires which adolescents can fill out on their smartphone, tablet or computer. Since we are dealing with minors, active consent of the parent/guardian is needed to use the data for the research. Of course, everything is anonymous.
Participate in the study?
Are you a school interested in participating in the study and thereby supporting our advice towards the policy level? Then click on the button below and get in touch with us. We would be happy to provide you with practical information about the study.