Health & Social Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Young People across the Socioeconomic Ladder: A Cross-Country Comparative Study

Young people are facing devastating health and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during their critical developmental period. However, their health and well-being are often neglected and superseded by other immediate considerations over the pandemic control and the economy. As the UN Inter-agency Network on Youth Development emphasizes, a sustainable recovery from COVID-19 is possible only if young people are reached and included. Identifying the health and social conditions that are most severely affected by the pandemic among young people across the socioeconomic ladder will inform targeted public health interventions in mitigating inequalities induced by the pandemic. Building a strong international alliance via this project could allow cross-country comparison on how different social contexts and mitigation measures affect health and social conditions of young people, and also arouse policy attention to respond to the crisis through engagement, empowerment, and resilience building of our younger generations.

For each country involved in this project, we will conduct cross-sectional surveys to examine:

  1. the association between socioeconomic position (SEP) and psychosocial health and well-being among secondary school students; and
  2. whether SEP affects psychosocial health and well-being through COVID-19-related social conditions (i.e. a mediation analysis).


By doing so, we will gain better understanding on the impacts of COVID-19 on health and social inequalities among young people and explore how and why the situations differ across the world. Findings from each participating university will be gathered for a comparative study, and disseminated in an online symposium and education seminar. Our findings will help foster knowledge and expertise exchange, promote sustainable and equitable recovery from COVID-19, and facilitate capacity building and development of policies and actions for better preparedness for the next potential worldwide catastrophe.

  • CUHK: Prof. Hung Wong, Associate Director, CUHK Institute of Health Equity
  • CUHK: Prof. Roger Chung, Associate Director, CUHK Institute of Health Equity
  • CUHK: Prof. Eng-Kiong Yeoh, Co-Director, CUHK Institute of Health Equity
  • CUHK: Prof. Jean Woo, Co-Director, CUHK Institute of Health Equity
  • CUHK: Prof. Michael Marmot, Co-Director, CUHK Institute of Health Equity
  • CUHK: Dr. Siu Ming Chan, Postdoctoral Fellow, CUHK Institute of Health Equity
  • CUHK: Mr. Gary Chung, Postdoctoral Fellow, CUHK Institute of Health Equity
  • National Cheng Kung University: Prof. How-Ran Guo, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health
  • Maastricht University: Prof. Hans Bosma, Professor, School for Public Health & Primary Care
  • Maastricht University: Prof. Karlijn Massar, Assistant Professor, Department of Work & Social Psychology
  • The University of Auckland: Prof. Susan Morton, Professor, Centre for Longitudinal Research - He Ara ki Mua
  • The University of Sheffield: Prof. Nathan Hughes, Professor, Department of Sociological Studies
  • University of Bristol: Prof. David Gordon, Professor, School for Policy Studies
  • University of Bristol: Prof. Richard Watermeyer, Professor, School of Education
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst: Prof. Ian Barron, Professor, Center for International Education
  • University of Southampton: Prof. Mary Barker, Professor, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit
  • University of Southampton: Dr. Sofia Strömmer, Research fellow, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit
  • Zhejiang University: Dr. Xiaoting Liu, Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs
  • McGill University: Prof. Arijit Nandi, Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair in Political Economy of Health, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatisics & Occupational Health
  • UCLA: Prof. Jody Heymann, Distinguished Professor, Fielding School of Public Health

Public Health