Project Overview

Learn more about the FOCUS study.

Have some questions? Send us an email.

Contact information

Faculty of Medicine
400 - 1045 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V6Z 2A9

Two women talking with masks on

18-30 year olds

A focus on young people

Globally, youth under 30 have not been prioritized by governments’ social, economic, and public health policies. Yet, youth continue to bear the brunt of these decisions. By collecting data about young people’s perspectives on social life, health, relationships, and substance use, the FOCUS study aims to better understand how youth are coping in the pandemic, and how policies can change in order to better support them.

The study’s design, implementation, and dissemination are guided by and for youth, and by following up with the same cohort of youth participants, the study will illuminate how young people experience changes over time.

French flag flapping in wind


An international collaboration

Launched in 2020, the FOCUS study is a collaborative research project between researchers in Canada and France.

Both countries have seen immense interruptions in daily life due to the pandemic, but they differ in important ways. For example, Canada has endured much stricter pandemic protocols, while France has experienced far more cases and deaths per capita compared to Canada. It is important to assess how these different approaches impact the health of young people during and following the pandemic period.

Close up of person's hands talking in interview

Mixed Methods

One study, two methods

To capture youth perspectives and experiences, two data collection methods are used:

  1. Annual online surveys
  2. One-on-one interviews with youth

Online surveys allow us to measure and monitor trends in young people’s responses over time. One-on-one interviews allow participants to share deeper responses regarding their experiences and perspectives during and following the pandemic.

The data gathered from this research will be published in open-source journals and presented to policy makers and other researchers. It will help inform public health interventions that promote the health and wellbeing of youth now and in the future.

Group of young people in 2021, same group of young people in 2022, but with three new people walking into the group

open cohort

Why we follow-up

The FOCUS study is an open cohort. A “cohort” means that the study follows the same group of people over time. An “open cohort” means that the group of people is not restricted, and new individuals can join the cohort by taking the survey and others can choose to leave the cohort and not to take the new surveys.

At the beginning of the survey or interview, participants are asked if they would like to be contacted to complete future phases of the study. If yes, they will enter their email address. When they complete the next annual survey, their email address will link their previous responses. This enables the study to follow how individuals’ experiences change over time, and how trends in the entire group of individuals change over time.


timeline of the FOCUS study: 2020 October-December (FOCUS online survey wave 1), 2021 July-November (FOCUS online survey wave 2), 2022 March-April (FOCUS qualitative interviews round 1), 2022 sept-nov (FOCUS online survey wave 3), TBD (FOCUS qualitative interviews round 2), TBD (FOCUS online survey wave 4)
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