What Should I do and Who's to blame? A cross-national study on youth's attitudes and beliefs in times of COVID-19

PLoS One. 2022 Dec 21;17(12):e0279366. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0279366. eCollection 2022.


The COVID-19 crisis has had a major impact on youth. This study examined factors associated with youth's attitudes towards their government's response to the pandemic and their blaming of individuals from certain risk groups, ethnic backgrounds, and countries or regions. In a sample of 5,682 young adults (Mage = 22) from 14 countries, lower perceived burden due to COVID-19, more collectivistic and less individualistic values, and more empathy were associated with more positive attitudes towards the government and less blaming of individuals of certain groups. Youth's social identification with others in the pandemic mediated these associations in the same direction, apart from the COVID-19 burden on attitudes, which had a positive indirect effect. No evidence of country-level moderation was found.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Government
  • Humans
  • Young Adult

Grant support

JvdG received a grant from the Faculty of Social Sciences of Utrecht University to fund data collection (no grant number available). URL: https://www.uu.nl/en/organisation/faculty-of-social-and-behavioural-sciences ELdM and SB were supported by a grant from the European Research Council (ERC-CoG INTRANSITION-773023). URL: https://erc.europa.eu/ The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.