Review Article

The development of coping strategies for young people to construct their identity in times of the COVID-19 pandemic

Valérie Cohen-Scali, Whitney Erby
African Journal of Career Development | Vol 3, No 1 | a38 | DOI: | © 2021 Valérie Cohen-Scali, Whitney Erby | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 May 2021 | Published: 20 October 2021

About the author(s)

Valérie Cohen-Scali, National Institute for Labor Studies and Vocational Guidance, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France
Whitney Erby, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, Chesnut Hill, United States


Background: The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a major impact on young people across the world. Many students struggle to complete their studies amidst the pressure of the pandemic and have many difficulties constructing their identity and career which is crucial at this period of life. An overview of the main effects of the pandemic on their identity and career development is presented.

Objectives: The first objective is to highlight the challenges faced by youth regarding their identity and career development, particularly the challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The next objective is to explore different strategies that may be implemented to ameliorate the effects of the career shock induced by the pandemic. Lastly, the goal is to propose career guidance and counselling interventions that professionals may utilise to help young adults to cope with the career-related consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: This article was informed by an overview of the current psychosocial literature. Relevant literature was reviewed and critically analysed. It was also informed by the review of an empirical experience with a group of students who kept diaries during pandemic confinement periods.

Results: The analysis resulted in three sets of psychosocial strategies that youth can develop in order to face the difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Each set of coping strategies is related to a specific career intervention that may be implemented by career guidance and counselling practitioners.

Conclusion: To support the development of adaptive coping strategies for the youth, career and counselling professionals need to address the three main types of challenges that are described.


COVID-19; identity; coping strategies; career interventions; students


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Crossref Citations

1. A narrative inquiry into the meaning of career identity of Indian emerging adults amid Covid-19
Surbhi Singhal, Nidhi Prakash
International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1007/s10775-023-09590-2