“Invulnerability among adolescents and young adults regarding ongoing pandemic”
It has been seen through out the world that the reaction of young generation to this COVID-19 is quite invulnerable. This invulnerable behavior among young adults generate from the constant reporting of older age people being more affected, but that doesn’t make the adolescents or young adults any less in danger to the virus.
One of the many reasons of such an uncontrollable outbreak of the virus in U.S. is the fact that regardless of the states issuing stay-at-home orders, large number of individuals continued with their business and travelling long distance. As per by the report from The New York Times, On March 26, Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama resisted issuing a stay-at-home order as the outbreak appeared more acute and immediate in other states. “We are not California,” she said. “We’re not New York. We aren’t even Louisiana.” But as the number of cases rose, she encouraged residents to limit social gatherings and ordered the closure of nonessential businesses.
According to New York Times, it has also been reported that in many states in U.S, cops had to involve and turn down the parties. Based on the theory by psychologist David Elkind, adolescent ego centrism, explains this type of perceived invulnerability in the young generation. It is the phase that outgrows in adolescents but perceived vulnerability doesn’t just really apply to the disease outbreaks. Young adult’s behavior towards drinking and driving has been observed and studied by many researchers as well, which supports the concept of personal fable.
Personal fable is the state where adolescents have a complex set of beliefs that their own feelings are unique and they are special and immortal. They see themselves as heroes and heroines, and they don’t feel threatened or at risk.
Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) explains this type of invulnerable behavior as well. According to this theory, one’s beliefs are linked to their behaviors. There are three main causes; your attitude towards something, your perception about it and the third one is your belief about it. That explains that people who are feeling invulnerable towards such outbreaks and diseases have a specific attitude, perception and belief about it, which turns out and reflects in their behaviors.
The phenomena of drinking and driving and having invulnerable attitude towards covid-19 in young adults, has a connection with the perception of risk, which itself is a function of adolescent’s ego centrism. It is also described as personal fable immunization against risk and develops risk taking behaviors.
Age maybe one predictor of perception of invulnerability. Every now and then someone need to pop the bubble people living in, with the beliefs that pandemics or diseases won’t affect them, and they don’t take their health seriously. A dose of the reports on the diseases can be helpful to educated the people who believe they are too healthy to be affected. Covid-19 is not age restricted, hence, we all need to take it seriously and take care of our both, physical and mental health in accordance to fight with this deadly virus. Considering the endemic nature of this new disease, rather than having invulnerable perception and being afraid of it, learning to adapt to lessen risk will make everyone defeat the virus.
Written by Ifrah Minal(Clinical Psychologist)
Thoughts: Dr. Sadaqat Ali