Home > Growing Up in Ireland. Key findings: special COVID-19 survey.

ESRI and Trinity College Dublin. (2021) Growing Up in Ireland. Key findings: special COVID-19 survey. ESRI; Trinity College Dublin; Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a life-changing period for all children and young people in Ireland. For the participants in Growing Up in Ireland, one group (‘cohort’) born in 1998 and another in 2008, the pandemic arrived at key junctures in their respective life-courses. The older cohort, aged about 22 years, had just taken – or were about to take – early steps in their careers. Many of the younger cohort, aged about 12 years, were due to make the transition from primary to secondary school in autumn 2020.

Changes in lifestyle habits among 22-year-olds The older cohort also self-reported on changes in their patterns of smoking, drinking alcohol and sleep (which were not asked of 12-year-olds, illustrated in Table 1 of the report). Of those who drank alcohol (a total of 87% of all 22-year-olds), 60% reported drinking less and 17% drank more than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. Just under a quarter reported drinking about the same amount. A majority of 22-year-olds didn’t smoke or vape (65%) but those who did were divided between smoking/vaping more (39%), the same (31%) or less (30%). There was also a lot of variation in terms of changes to sleep, with half of 22-year-olds sleeping about the same and the remainder split between sleeping more (27%) or less (22%).

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