Literature Review

In order to pick a focus on the topic that I am more interested in, I decided to add context to my topic linking with COVID-19. Although the COVID-19 outbreak was less than a year, there are quite a lot literatures discussing about it.

From reading them, I have already known the positive and negative points on how COVID is affecting adults, young adults, and medical staff’s life. I also know how these changes are affecting their emotional state and some certain behaviour they would react.

Some key findings out of the readings are:

  • Asian population tend to have higher depressive symptoms, anxiety and stress on isolation than people in western countries
  • Anxiety levels of females are significantly higher than males (world wide)
  • Although young adults belongs to the low-risk group, not much attention has been focus on their mental health status
  • And for young adults, the largest risk factor emotional distress during COVID-19 was their previous emotional distress
Summary of findings related to COVID-19 and mental health

In addition to this, I also found out some emotions that can help to improve mental health, as well as some coping strategies. However, these positive emotions are often experienced in interpersonal relationships, which might be a constraint with social gathering ban.

Coping strategies related to emotion and mental health

Furthermore, I found some real life examples where people try to maintain fun and emotional connections through social interaction while maintaining physical distance, such as an online collaboration held by a Japanese musician, Gen Hoshino, during Japan lockdown; and the game Animal Crossing published by Nintendo.

Examples how people maintain fun and social interaction while keeping physical distance


After understanding and knowing all these facts, I have a desire to take a deeper look on the young adults group. As being part of the young adults, I am also living through and experiencing it at the same time. I wonder whether they are feeling the same as me or actually have a different thought than what’s mentioned on the literature…


Over the summer, I have been using the method of autoethnography to conduct my research. Autoethnography is a research approach that uses writing to describe one’s personal experience or self-reflection to explore the culture, politics, community with a wider lends.

Apart from me being conscious about my life, I also paid more attention to my surroundings, and made notes about the conversation/ interaction I had with my friends that was related to my research topic.

At the end, I chose to write some out some stories that can bring out epiphanies with the topic on young adults’ emotional wellbeing. I then highlighted the main points from the paragraphs, and summarised the findings into point forms.

Highlight main points
Summary of findings from autoenthography research

To sum up my findings, COVID-19 does affect Young Adult’s life more negatively than positive.

One thing I found is that even the age range for Young Adults are 18–30, the feelings that they have can be very different according to their job status. University students would feel bored and having repetitive life due to lack of entertainment, while the employed groups do have worries about their jobs and future plan.

In terms of their emotional state, I got to understand some of causes of their negative emotion. It is mainly about life disruption, or bigger events like further study, giving birth, and marriage postponement, not much is related to health.

For the coping strategy, talking and sharing with others do help to release negative emotions, and this has been supported by some of the papers too.


Working on the project alone wasn’t a great feeling to me, I often have questions and self doubt on the things I need to make decisions on. Before deciding to use autoenthgraphy as a research method, I did a lot of reading trying to understand the concept and recording method. I wanted to ask people whether the way I record it or such research method is suitable for my project or not… Fortunately, I gain some insights and findings from doing it and it did help me to move forward on my research.


Bartlett, J.D., Griffin, J. and Thomson, D., 2020. Resources for supporting children’s emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Child Trends.

Duan, L., Shao, X., Wang, Y., Huang, Y., Miao, J., Yang, X. and Zhu, G., 2020. An investigation of mental health status of children and adolescents in china during the outbreak of COVID-19. Journal of affective disorders, 275, pp.112–118.

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E. and Bochner, A.P., 2011. Autoethnography: an overview. Historical social research/Historische sozialforschung, pp.273–290.

Fessell, D. and Cherniss, C., 2020. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and beyond: micropractices for burnout prevention and emotional wellness. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 17(6), pp.746–748.

Go, M. (2020) ‘Shinzo Abe joins ‘Dancing on the Inside’ bandwagon’, Rappler Blogs, 12 April. Available at: (Accessed: 15 August 2020).

J. (2020) ‘Music Monday: Gen Hoshino’s Quarantine Collaborations’, Spoon & Tamago, 6 April. Available at: (Accessed: 15 August 2020).

Lades, L., Laffan, K., Daly, M. and Delaney, L., 2020. Daily emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Montemurro, N., 2020. The emotional impact of COVID-19: From medical staff to common people. Brain, behavior, and immunity.

Pérez-Fuentes, M.D.C., Molero Jurado, M.D.M., Martos Martínez, Á. and Gázquez Linares, J.J., 2020. Threat of COVID-19 and emotional state during quarantine: Positive and negative affect as mediators in a cross-sectional study of the Spanish population. PloS one, 15(6), p.e0235305.

Restubog, S.L.D., Ocampo, A.C.G. and Wang, L., 2020. Taking control amidst the chaos: Emotion regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shanahan, L., Steinhoff, A., Bechtiger, L., Murray, A.L., Nivette, A., Hepp, U., Ribeaud, D. and Eisner, M., 2020. Emotional distress in young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence of risk and resilience from a longitudinal cohort study. Psychological medicine, pp.1–10.

van der Vegt, I. and Kleinberg, B., 2020. Women worry about family, men about the economy: Gender differences in emotional responses to COVID-19. arXiv preprint arXiv:2004.08202.

We Fly As One. (2020) American Ballet Theatre

[Facebook] 24 April. Available at: (Accessed: 16 August 2020).

Yamaguchi, K., Takebayashi, Y., Miyamae, M., Komazawa, A., Yokoyama, C. and Ito, M., 2020. Role of focusing on the positive side during COVID-19 outbreak: Mental health perspective from positive psychology. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(S1), p.S49.

Zacher, H. and Rudolph, C.W., 2020. Individual differences and changes in subjective wellbeing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. American Psychologist.

Zhu, L., 2020. The psychology behind video games during COVID‐19 pandemic: A case study of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies.




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