Research Area:

#Research Project

Young Adults in the COVID-19 Pandemic  (COV-IDENTITIES)

Funded by: own funds (University of Innsbruck)
Principal Investigators: Tabea Bork-Hüffer, Katja Kaufmann
Research Associates: Christoph Straganz

Project Period: 2020 – ongoing

COV-IDENTITIES takes the unprecedented chance to accompany young adults throughout the period of uncertainty that is caused by the COVID-19-pandemic with the objective to better understand young adults’ active, flexible and innovative strategies of responding to the pandemic. It does so by means of an innovative qualitative multi-method and longitudinal approach that combines mobile instant messaging interviews with written narratives. 130 young adults enrolled in educational institutions in Tyrol, Austria, were recruited in March 2020 and were accompanied throughout five completed data collection phases in 2020 and 2021. The sample included three groups of young adults: (1) pupils in their final school year (Maturant*innen) at schools, (2) students of vocational schools (Berufsschüler*innen), and (3) University students enrolled at Universities in Tyrol. The leading research question is: How are young adults making their everyday spacesidentities and futures during the COVID-19-pandemic? The project’s main objectives are to analyse how young adults are actively responding to and making their lives during the global COVID-19 pandemic and the concomitant governmental measures on a very personal level. In doing so, we seek to contribute to knowledge on the micro-level which we perceive as essential for authorities, educators and researchers to be able to assess the actual effects the measures will have had on young people.

The open, explorative approach and large multi-media data set that resulted from the study has so far allowed us to analyse  a variety of topics: Already published are insights into how the pandemic has affected young adults’ relationships to the city, their situatedness and navigation through complex and entangled socio-material-technological spaces, their evaluation and adaptation to distance learning as well as their vaccination attitudes and adherence or resistance to pandemic measures. We have also contributed to the discussion of the development of  remote and mobile in-situ methods that are suited to accompany subjects in challenging life situations such as a pandemic. We are currently analysing the data in regards to students’ senses of nature and their emotional connections to nature in the pandemic and effects on their social relations, friendship and related social well-being.



    • Bork-Hüffer, T., Straganz, C. & K. Kaufmann (accepted for publication): Spatial (Im-)Mobilities of Young Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic (COV-IDENTITIES project). Extended abstract of the paper presented at the Online Symposium on “Disrupted Geographies or the Disruption of Geography during COVID-19”, on 7 July 2020.

    → see all our publications

    Events and Talks

    • Online Symposium: “Disrupted Geographies or the Disruption of Geography during COVID-19”, 7-9 July 2020 (organisers: Carsten Butsch, Tabea Bork-Hüffer, Markus Nüsser, Nicole Aeschbach and Simon Peth)
    • Talk: Bork-Hüffer, T., Straganz, C. & K. Kaufmann (2020): Spatial (Im-)Mobilities of Young Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic (COV-IDENTITIES project). Online Symposium on “Disrupted Geographies or the Disruption of Geography during COVID-19”, 7 July 2020.
    • Talk: Kaufmann, K., Straganz, C., Mahlknecht, B. & T. Bork-Hüffer (2020): Reaching Young People During a Pandemic with Mobile Instant Messaging Interviews: Methodological Potentials for the Analysis of Socio-Material-Technological Spatialities. Virtual Symposium of the RGS Research Group Digital Geography, 1 July, 2020.
    • Talk: Straganz, C. & T. Bork-Hüffer (announced): Young Adults‘ Positionality during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Annual Meeting of the Research Group Medical Geographies and the Geographies of Health, Remagen, 24 September 2020.

    → see all our events



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    Research Group Transient Spaces & Societies

    Geographisches Institut Innsbruck
    Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck



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