Perspectives of US Youth During Initial Month of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Eric Waselewski, MD; Marika Waselewski, MPH; Chloe Harper; Sarah Dickey; Sue Anne Bell, PhD, FNP-BC; Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS


Ann Fam Med. 2021;19(2):141-147. 

In This Article


Our study used the MyVoice cohort, a national longitudinal mixed-methods text-message poll of youth, that seeks to understand youth opinion on salient health and policy issues.[31] The MyVoice cohort is a diverse sample of youth, aged 14–24 years, across the United States, recruited via social media and community events with the goal of meeting national benchmarks from weighted samples of the American Community Survey. Individuals are eligible to participate with the following criteria: aged 14–24 years, English literacy, and access to a phone with text-messaging capabilities. This study was approved by the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board with a waiver of parental consent for minors.

Two open-ended surveys were sent to MyVoice participants in March 2020. The first, sent on March 6, 2020, was composed of 4 questions on knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The second survey, sent on March 20, 2020, had 3 different questions, to capture their evolving experiences. Respondents were given 1 week to respond to each set of questions. Survey questions were iteratively developed by a team of youth, researchers, and methodologic experts to ensure clarity and appropriateness.

March 6, 2020 Survey Questions

  1. What do you know about coronavirus or COVID-19? Where did you hear that?

  2. How has the current coronavirus situation impacted you, if at all?

  3. Are you worried about coronavirus? Why or why not?

  4. Are you doing anything to prepare for coronavirus? If so, what?

March 20, 2020 Survey Questions

  1. How has coronavirus affected your life?

  2. Are you worried about coronavirus? Why or why not?

  3. Are you doing anything to prepare for coronavirus? If so, what?

After survey results were obtained, thematic review of the data was performed by 2 authors (E.W., M.W.) and a codebook developed. All responses were then coded independently by different pairs of authors (E.W., M.W., S.A.B., S.D., C.H.) with a third author (from the same group) reviewing for discrepancies and reconciling differences. Summary statistics for demographics and code frequencies were completed with SAS version 9.4 (SAS Institute Inc).