Adolescence between fears and hopes: the IARD 2022 research

IARD, the research network on the condition and policies of youth, has just published the annual survey of the association Laboratorio Adolescenza and on a national representative sample of 5,600 students aged 13 to 19 yearsthe.

Respect food and lifestyles, research shows that 58% of teens (69.4% of girls) say they ate inadequately during the two years of the pandemic and 37% complain of gaining weight. 27% (35.4% of women) “look” fatter than the average of their friends and, above all, 50.5% (60.7%) of the girls he is dissatisfied with his general physical appearance. The pandemic has led to an increase in eating disorders among adolescents – points out Marina Picca, overeating and / or messy, not only may he have produced an objective tendency to be overweight, but he has certainly further distanced the perception of his body image from those ideals of physicality, completely abstract, that are constructed through social media..


The authors of the research mainly investigated the effect derived from the Covid period in which social relations they have been drastically reduced. If we compare the answers given to the annual survey, in 2020 dissatisfaction with their physical appearance affected 31% of men, compared to the current 39%, and 55.4% of women, compared to 60, 7%. The percentages of dissatisfied people in the pandemic period, especially during confinement, confirm how much of the problem stems precisely from the confrontation between them and others, which the adolescents themselves admit when they say (34% of men and 53.7% of girls) that in the assessment of physical appearance is the judgment of friends and colleagues is important.

Influencer, blogger and fashion

According to the research, to influence the relationship with one’s own body, and therefore also with food, the role of influencer, fashion blogger, fashion, advertising is very important. In fact, 59.1% of men and 77.6% of girls undergo conditioning, which increases with age, from 63.5% among undergraduate students to 70.1 % of secondary. There is a real list to like you more: for 67% of the girls it is at the top being thinner while for 57.2% of the boys it is higher (57.2%).

He also has his word Fulvio Scaparropsychologist and psychotherapist, reference in the psychological area of ​​the Laboratorio Adolescenza and founder of the GeA Association (Parents Ancòra), which highlights how from the direct professional experience and the activity of GeA is recorded as these two years of pandemic, and therefore often of forced coexistence during confinements, conflicts between parents and between parents and children have greatly increased and this has further crushed adolescents in their world of social media.

Sedentary lifestyle

Unsatisfactory perception of physical appearance is aggravated by widespread sedentary lifestyle.: the relationship between Italian teenagers and sports activity has worsened. In fact, comparing the data for 2022 with those for 2020, the percentage of those who stopped doing sports went from 20.1% (2020) to 32.4% (2022), and also among those who still play sports outside of school, the percentage of those who practice at least two hours a week fell from 62.4% (2020) to 49.5% in 2022. In particular, the data for girls who do not do sports are alarming. This is demonstrated by both experts and Gianni Bona, endocrinologist at the University of Novara and honorary president of the Laboratorio Adolescenza, which states that the suspension of sports activities but also more in in general, the drastic reduction in physical activity represented more indirect damage caused by the pandemic to adolescents. and both by the Italian Society of Pediatrics (SIP). The emergence of adolescence, which was already emerging before Covid, had an explosion at increasingly early ages.

Social relations, school and university

The research also investigated adolescents ’relationships with parents and friends which according to the data is and remains substantially good. A large majority of boys and girls find family life enjoyable or quiet, and relationships with friends are excellent or satisfying.

For about half of the adolescents (48%) the school year that has just ended was -from the point of view of the effects of the pandemic- more or less as expected in September, but the other abundant half was divided among those who found more critical issues than expected (27.5%) and some less (23.3%). In terms of preparation, only 30% say the effects produced were few or none, while for 70% training was penalized enough or a lot.. He as it is the most worryingit is the idea of ​​teenagers to continue their studies after graduation: pexpect to enroll at the University on the day 63% of students respondents, but 33% believe not, including 40% of menwith a large gap between high school students and those of technical and professional institutes.


There is a widespread desire to travel, even when it comes to trainingpoints to the research Andrea Franzoi, general secretary of the Intercultural Association: the fact that they had been locked up at home with their parents for long periods, that they had attended online school, that they did not have any real social space, penalized them a lot. It is no coincidence that, an obvious reaction to the discomfort experienced, in 2021 Intercultura registered the highest number of students (7,500) in its competition for school programs abroad. When asked would you like to study 6 months / 1 year of high school abroad, in 2020 50.5% of high school respondents answered yes, in 2021 the percentage increased to 56.1% and in 2022 it reached 49.6. The vast majority of respondents want to know new places (46%), but also get in touch with new people and get to know different cultures (27.3%).

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