Employment Disruption and Wellbeing Among Young Adults: A Cross-National Study of Perceived Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown

Lijun Li, Joyce Serido, Rimantas Vosylis, Angela Sorgente, Žan Lep, Yue Zhang, Gabriela Fonseca, Carla Crespo, Ana Paula Relvas, Maja Zupančič, Margherita Lanz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Young adulthood (18–30 years old) is a crucial period due to its developmental tasks such as career establishment and financial independence. However, young adults’ relative lack of resources makes them vulnerable to employment disruptions (job loss and income loss), which may have both immediate and long-term effects on their financial wellbeing and mental health. The economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions resulted in an increase in unemployment and a decrease in income worldwide, especially for young adults. This study examined to what extent and how job loss and income loss due to the pandemic influenced young adults’ perception of their present financial wellbeing, future financial wellbeing, and psychological wellbeing by using cross-sectional survey data collected from six countries (China, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia, and the United States). Results showed that the impact of income loss and job loss on all three types of wellbeing were mediated by young adults’ negative perception of the COVID-19 lockdown restriction (i.e., perceived as a misfortune). Cross-country differences existed in the key variables. The association between employment disruptions, young adults’ perception of the COVID-19 lockdown restriction, and wellbeing were equivalent across countries except China. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-1012
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Partial funding for the study was provided by the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota (Grant recipients: Lijun Li and Joyce Serido) and the Slovenian Research Agency, Award # P5-0062 (Grant recipients: Zan Lep and Maja Zupančič).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • COVID-19
  • Employment disruption
  • Perception
  • Wellbeing
  • Young adults

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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