Introduction: The literature indicates that young people have an elevated belief in their invulnerability and yet media images depict them as vulnerable and at risk.
Aims: This study aimed to explore young people’s perceptions of their (in)vulnerability during the pandemic and whether the media depictions in that period reflect these.
Methods: The data collection method was the free writing of a ‘letter to a friend’ on a sample of 107 people aged 18–34. The second dataset consisted of the 200 most relevant media reports on young people published at the time of the research. The material was analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis.
Results: Three themes relating to the perceived threat of the pandemic and coping were constructed from the young adults’ statements – Coronavirus is no threat to me, Coronavirus has something to do with me, and Coronavirus has to be responded to. Based on the media discourse we created themes Young people present a threat and are under threat and Youth potential, development, and protection.
Conclusions: The results suggest that beliefs about one’s invulnerability were not overly reinforced among young people during the pandemic. The results imply the need for greater external threat awareness among those groups of young people who feel in a privileged and secure position compared to the rest of the population. At the time the media focused more on other issues that were a threat to young people, mainly the risk of social pathology, which indirectly reinforced the thesis of young people’s invulnerability to Covid-19.
Keywords: covid-19, young people, own invulnerability, coping, media images