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Mónica Costa; Paula Mena Matos; Beatriz Santos (et al.)
Children and youth residential care institutions were forced to introduce adaptations to their regular functioning in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the lockdown on the adolescents’ psychological adjustment and whether adolescents’ perceived cohesion mitigated the increase of adolescents` psychological adjustment problems. Participants were 243 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years, living in 21 different residential care institutions.
Worldwide, at least 13% of people between the ages of 10 and 19 live with a diagnosed mental-health disorder, according to the latest State of the World’s Children report, published this week by the United Nations children’s charity UNICEF. It’s the first time in the organization’s history that this flagship report has tackled the challenges in and opportunities for preventing and treating mental-health problems among young people. It reveals that adolescent mental health is highly complex, understudied — and underfunded. These findings are echoed in a parallel collection of review articles published this week in a number of Springer Nature journals. Anxiety and depression constitute more than 40% of mental-health disorders among young people (those aged 10–19). UNICEF also reports that, worldwide, suicide is the fourth most-common cause of death (after road injuries, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence) among adolescents (aged 15–19). In eastern Europe and central Asia, suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in that age group — and it’s the second-highest cause in western Europe and North America.
J. Stone; A. Phillips; J. Wiley (et al.)
Karen M. Koner; Abigayle Weaver
Ingvild West Saxvig; Ståle Pallesen; Børge Sivertsen (et al.)
Jennifer Yarger; Abigail Gutmann-Gonzalez; Sarah Han (et al.)
Social distancing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 may profoundly impact young people’s relationships. This study compared adolescent and young adults’ romantic relationships and sexual activity before and after social distancing policies were enacted. In June 2020, 351 youth participating in an ongoing intervention study in Fresno County, California completed an online survey about their experiences related to COVID-19. The survey included open and closed-ended questions about their romantic relationships, sexual activity, and online romantic or sexual interactions before and during social distancing restrictions. The chi-square test of independence was used to compare adolescent (ages 13–17) and young adults’ (ages 18–21) responses. Results were also compared to responses in the intervention study’s baseline survey.
Kristen Maunder; Fiona McNicholas
Carer burden amongst carers of youth with an eating disorder is substantial and if not addressed can lead to negative outcomes for the patient, carer and family. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has made caring for youth with an ED even more onerous and preliminary research is beginning to emerge demonstrating the profound negative impact the pandemic is having upon individuals with EDs and their carers. This review briefly summarizes what is known about carer burden in families where a young person has an ED, considers the additional impact consequent to COVID-19 and highlights the need for interventions aimed at alleviating this. Pre-COVID-19 research identifies high levels of psychological and physical strain amongst those caring for a child with an ED. Themes are beginning to emerge as to why COVID-19 may further exacerbate carer burden: (1) reduced access to ED services; (2) increased physical vulnerability and exacerbation of psychiatric co-morbidity amongst youth with EDs; (3) increased practical demands placed on carers; and (4) social isolation and decreased social support.
Riley H. Shurack; Jeanette M. Garcia; Keith Brazendale (et al.)
This paper reviews the literature on the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and the reactions of vulnerable children. Research reveals increases in clinically significant depression, suicidal ideation and behavior, and some anxiety symptoms. Substance use studies suggest an inadvertent decrease in substance use in some youth though findings are inconsistent across substances and for males and females. Children with pre-existing emotional and behavioral problems are especially vulnerable though some children appear to improve in the context of public health measures which have decreased the stresses associated with school and socialization. In addition, children with pre-existing problems are likely to have established resources and relationships that may protect them relative to other children.
Melissa R. Dvorsky; Rosanna Breaux; Caroline N. Cusick (et al.)
Marco Solmi; Christoph U. Correll
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered daily routines and family functioning, led to closing schools, and dramatically limited social interactions worldwide. Measuring its impact on mental health of vulnerable children and adolescents is crucial. The Collaborative Outcome study on Health and Functioning during Infection Times (COH-FIT – www.coh-fit.com) is an on-line anonymous survey, available in 30 languages, involving >220 investigators from 49 countries supported by national/international professional associations. COH-FIT has thee waves (until the pandemic is declared over by the WHO, and 6-18 months plus 24-36 months after its end). In addition to adults, COH-FIT also includes adolescents (age 14-17 years), and children (age 6-13 years), recruited via non-probability/snowball and representative sampling and assessed via self-rating and parental rating.
Emily G. Vira; Therése Skoog
Anna Serlachius; Anna Boggiss; David Lim (et al.)
Well-being apps represent a promising and scalable approach for improving mental health outcomes in youth, especially during a global pandemic when access to face-to-face interventions may be limited. Whitu (meaning 7 in the New Zealand Māori language Te Reo) is a newly developed well-being app with 7 modules that support young people to learn and practice evidence-based coping skills, including relaxation, mindfulness, self-compassion, and goal-setting. This pilot explored the acceptability, usability, and preliminary efficacy of Whitu before refining the app for a randomized controlled trial (RCT).
Eveline A. Crone; Michelle Achterberg
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
Read the latest quarterly digest on violence against children and women during COVID-19.
The first digest covers children and youth mental health under COVID-19.
Subscribe to updates on new research about COVID-19 & children
COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response