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03 June 2020

Understanding the experiences of young adults during and post COVID-19 lockdown

Researchers from King’s College London have launched a new study to better understand what young adults think about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting their lives by collecting answers and data on a smartphone app.

Understanding the experiences of young adults during and post COVID-19 lockdown

Young adults who take part will download and install the Headsmart:Lockdown app which will ask them questions at regular intervals about their health and wellbeing and also collect data on their physical activity, such as steps and heart rate..

The nationwide lockdown, announced on 23 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has raised many questions as to how people cope with extended periods of lockdown. Among young adults in particular, one in five are already thought to have symptoms of anxiety and depression, and a recent survey showed that younger people, especially young men, are more likely to find it difficult to cope with lockdown.

By using innovative digital technology, the HeadSmart:Lockdown study aims to tap into the experience of young adults in an accessible and meaningful way, providing them with the opportunity to voice their opinions on how the pandemic has affected them. The study will provide a unique insight into the interplay between physical activity, such as heart rate, number of steps and distance travelled, and mental health, and will allow the researchers to fully investigate the question, what impact did lockdown have on young adults?

More specifically researchers are planning to investigate changes in young adults’ wellbeing, behaviours and attitudes during and after lockdown and to assess any differences in these measures across different groups depending on age, gender and ethnicity. The study also plans to assess whether being part of a household of which a keyworker is a member is influential in the wellbeing, behaviour and attitudes of young adults.

This is an exciting project that aims to improve our understanding around the impact of lockdown on young adults using innovative digital technology to assess physical activity and mental health. We hope that the results of this study will help young adults by informing the development of new initiatives specifically targeted at supporting them post-lockdown.

Dr Daniel Leightley, Co-project lead from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London

To be eligible to take part, participants should be aged between 18-24 years, live in the UK, and own a smartphone.


For interviews or any further media information, please contact: Franca Davenport, Interim Senior Press Officer, IoPPN: / +44 7718 697176

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Image of Dr Daniel Leightley

Lecturer in Digital Health Sciences