Longueuil, September 12, 2023 – Researcher Catherine Laurier at the Centre de recherche Charles-Le Moyne is passionate about young people. Along with her colleague, Katherine Pascuzzo, both of whom are psychoeducation professors at Université de Sherbrooke, she led a study to determine how adolescents fared during the pandemic.
The adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17 who participated in the longitudinal study led since June 2020, presented high levels of psychological distress a few months after the start of the pandemic. The study also revealed certain protective factors. Youth who had a secure relationship with their parents and their peers had fewer symptoms of distress. Those who participated in organized sports before the lockdown and who remained active during this period were less vulnerable to depression.
Impacts of the pandemic
Catherine Laurier and Katherine Pascuzzo would now like to understand how the pandemic—which profoundly affected the lives of young people and limited their social interaction—has changed them in the long term. They would like to find out how this event modified their way of seeing the world, their relationships with others and their identity. Has their distress and anxiety decreased since 2020? What mechanisms did they develop to adapt? How have young people rebuilt themselves three years after the start of the pandemic? What are their concerns in 2023?
To answer these questions, they have embarked on an innovative research project using an interactive website to follow young people between the ages of 14 and 25 for one year. Every two weeks, each participant will be invited to record a short one- to two-minute video or to describe in a few lines how they feel, and to complete a short questionnaire. Based on the answers they provide on the website dedicated to this research, each youth will be invited to answer a more comprehensive questionnaire that addresses various dimensions, including stress, anxiety, states of depression and social relations. After completing the questionnaire, the participants will receive a list of help resources that they can consult, as needed. The website is bilingual and open to young people across Canada.
The researchers are inviting young people to participate in large numbers in this study, which will increase what we know about their concerns, their strengths, their challenges and their ability to adapt. The participants will be able to keep and re-watch their recorded videos on their account, which will be solely accessible to the research team. To thank them for their involvement, participants will be able to take part in a draw for prizes.
The Fondation de l’Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne financially contributed to this project by supporting the creation of the website. “The researchers are a goldmine of ideas. Unfortunately, they’re having a hard time getting funding for many of their projects, even though these could have a major impact on health. Thanks to our generous donors, we’re going to be able to take the pulse of young people’s health and better understand how they are recovering from the pandemic. This is key to helping young people who will forever be affected by COVID and who are experiencing mental health problems—from social or general anxiety to eating disorders, mood disorders or depression. They’re our future!” said Nathalie Boudreau, President and CEO of Fondation Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne.
To participate in the research, simply go to the study’s website at https://self-immersion.ca/. Then click on the “Subscribe” tab, located at the top right of the screen and create your account.
The only health research centre operating in the Montérégie, the Centre de recherche Charles-Le Moyne (CRCLM) is the fruit of a collaboration between the CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre and Université de Sherbrooke. Its researchers explore very diverse themes related to preventive and curative physical and mental health in addition to studying health service organization and performance. They work within well-established health facilities, teaching institutions and research groups.