The aim of this study is to draw out the potential consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions
for young people’s future health outcomes by exploring changes to the family-based emotional
support systems of the young people who took part.
It is based on qualitative research designed to explore the impact of the lockdown restrictions on young
people engaged with the Health Foundation’s Young People’s Future Health Inquiry. The analysis is
based on 13 semi-structured video-interviews carried out in May and June 2020.
Lockdown restrictions have generally had a negative impact on the emotional wellbeing of the
participants in this study. The findings indicate that the lockdown restrictions have had mixed effects
on the emotional support that young people are able to receive from, and give to, their families. The
negative effects might have been exacerbated by the closure or reduction of key services, such as
mental health services. While communications technology has helped some young people maintain
contact with their families, it is no substitute for in-person contact.
Given the recency of COVID-19, evidence on the impact of lockdown restrictions on young people’s
family relationships is still very limited, but this study highlights the importance of this area of work.
The study identifies potential policy implications and highlights the need for further research into the
effects of emotional support on young people’s health and wellbeing.
Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown, young people, family relationships, emotional support