Young Italians Are Stressed by the Coronavirus Crisis, But Hope to Emerge Stronger
As the Covid-19 pandemic has spread across the world, Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries. On March 9th, the Italian government imposed a national lockdown, restricting the movement of the population and closing non-essential businesses. Young people have been portrayed in the media as selfish and reluctant to sacrifice for the common good. At Viacom in Italy, we wanted to find out the truth about how Italian teens and young adults are coping with this crisis.
To accomplish that, we conducted a nationally representative online survey of 1,000 young people aged 16 to 30 between March 28 and April 2, 2020. Here’s what we learned:
Young Italians are observing the rules despite the difficulties. Most (81%) say they’ve changed their habits, and 86% think that even more restrictive measures are fair.
They’re anxious, but not paralyzed by fear. This emergency is unsettling for most, with 8 in 10 feeling concerned. They’re very worried about the world economy (81%) and the Italian economy (86%), as well as the pandemic’s effect on people’s mental health (80%). Though it will be hard to make it through, they believe they will get there together. In fact, half say they’ve devised new ways to help the people around them. When asked how they’re feeling, they expressed a range of emotions – worried, stressed, powerless, and bored, as well as confident, optimistic, and proud to be Italian.
Staying home has been stressful yet rewarding. For many young Italians, being quarantined with their families is hard – 37% are struggling with the lack of personal space and time to themselves, and 23% feel stressed by the amount of time they’re spending with their families. But many see longer-term benefits, with 38% expecting their family will be more united than ever when this emergency is over and 36% rediscovering relationships that they used to take for granted.
They can’t wait to see friends and relatives in person. Despite the lockdown, young Italians are maintaining their closest relationships – 68% are calling or video-calling friends and relatives often, and 55% are having frequent video calls with friends to share everyday life moments. When this crisis is over, the first thing they want to do is see the friends and relatives they’ve missed.
They have faith in those on the front lines. Almost all young Italians (92%) trust healthcare workers and 82% trust their country’s Civil Protection department, which manages emergencies. Confidence in both entities has grown significantly since the pandemic began. In contrast, just 27% of young people trust the media, 27% trust the European Union, and 19% trust Italian politicians.
The European Union has disappointed them. Young Italians are frustrated by the lack of cohesive management shown by European institutions. The majority (86%) think common measures among all European countries are necessary to defeat this epidemic, and 68% feel that the EU has left Italy to deal with it alone. Only 28% believe that Europe will emerge as more united than before.
They crave scientific truth. Most young Italians (83%) believe there is too much fake news about the coronavirus, and 86% think it’s time to refocus on scientific and technical expertise.
They believe Italy can emerge stronger from this crisis. Nearly three-quarters of young Italians believe that this lockdown will lead to a rethinking in outlook and approach to the world. Among the changes they expect are greater investment in public healthcare (87%), an increase in remote work and education (74%), a boost in Italian national pride (67%), and a rise in solidarity among Italians (63%).