The impact of reciprocity on young people’s mental health in times of health-related crisis

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on young people's mental health, and available evidence suggests that if action is not made to address this issue, there will be a surge in mental health crises among young people. In the context of Nigeria where labour informality is very prevalent, many young people during this pandemic have lost their jobs and sources of livelihoods, pushing them into states of sadness, anxiety, and depression. Against this background, this study assessed the impact of reciprocity of social support on the mental health of young people working in the informal sector, from the viewpoint that an individual is both an active and passive support provider and receiver. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to test the impact of reciprocity on the mental health of 686 young informal workers between the ages of 18 to 35 years who participated in the survey. The result from the analysis revealed that engaging in reciprocal relationships was positively associated with improved mental health among young people during the COVID19 pandemic. Finally, this finding suggests that social support reciprocity should be fostered as one of the non-medical approaches to enhancing mental health during health-related crises, such as the COVID-19.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2022
EventHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference: Health and Wellbeing in (Post-) Pandemic Times - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 3 Dec 20223 Dec 2022
Conference number: 23


ConferenceHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference
CityHong Kong
OtherAs an unprecedented public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the focal concern of sociologists around the world. Globally, there have been over six hundred million confirmed cases, including over six million of deaths. Over the past few years, we have experienced the tremendous impacts brought by the pandemic on various domains of life. Apart from infected and death cases, we have seen a surge of mental health issues, suicides, domestic violence, as well as plummeting economic growth and escalating unemployment and poverty rates. Whether to embrace the “new normal” by easing public health and social distancing measures is a contentious issue as much among world leaders as ordinary citizens. From a sociological perspective, most impacts brought by the pandemic are believed to be structural and long lasting. As not everyone has equal access to vaccines, personal protective equipment, healthcare and other resources, health and social inequalities are expected to be worsening. There are also concerns about the lack of affordable childcare and technological equipment for attending online classes during pandemic times, which would have lingering effects on education, digital, and social inequalities across generations.

Against this background, this conference aims to address the pressing issues of health and wellbeing in pandemic and post-pandemic times from a sociological perspective. It provides a platform for scholars, students, and other stakeholders to discuss the implications of the pandemic for health and social inequalities among other issues. On that basis, participants will explore practical and policy responses to enhance health and wellbeing in the (post-)pandemic condition.
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