The Impact of COVID-19 on Adolescent Mental Health: Preliminary Findings From a Longitudinal Sample of Healthy and At-Risk Adolescents

Zsofia P. Cohen, Kelly T. Cosgrove, Danielle C. DeVille, Elisabeth Akeman, Manpreet K. Singh, Evan White, Jennifer L. Stewart, Robin L. Aupperle, Martin P. Paulus, Namik Kirlic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on far-reaching consequences for adolescents. Adolescents with early life stress (ELS) may be at particular risk. We sought to examine how COVID-19 impacted psychological functioning in a sample of healthy and ELS-exposed adolescents during the pandemic. Methods: A total of 24 adolescents (15 healthy, nine ELS) completed self-report measures prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effect of COVID-19 on symptoms of depression and anxiety were explored using linear mixed-effect analyses. Results: With the onset of the pandemic, healthy but not ELS-exposed adolescents evidenced increased symptoms of depression and anxiety (ps < 0.05). Coping by talking with friends and prioritizing sleep had a protective effect against anxiety for healthy adolescents (t = −3.76, p = 0.002). Conclusions: On average, this study demonstrated large increases in depression and anxiety in adolescents who were healthy prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, while ELS-exposed adolescents evidenced high but stable symptoms over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number622608
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • depression
  • stress

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