Pandemic Has Harmed Mental Health of Teens
MONDAY, March 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) – If your teens have struggled to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey suggests they are far from alone.
Researchers found that 46% of 977 parents of teens said their child had signs of a new or worsening mental health problem since the start of the pandemic.
More parents of teenage girls than parents of teenage boys reported increased anxiety / worry (36% vs. 19%) or depression / sadness (31% vs. 18%).
Girls and boys had similar rates of negative changes in their sleep (24% for girls vs. 21% for boys), withdrawal from family (14% vs. 13%), and aggressive behavior (8% vs. 9 %), according to the CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Child Health Survey in Michigan Medicine.
“Just as young people are at the age of being biologically ready to seek independence in their families, COVID-19 precautions have kept them at home,” said co-director of the survey and Mott’s pediatrician, Dr Gary Freed.
“Lifestyle changes linked to the pandemic have taken their toll on the lives of adolescents, many of them having experienced disruptions in their normal routines,” Freed said in a press release. “Our survey suggests that changes in the era of the pandemic may have had a significant impact on the mental health of some adolescents.”
Research shows that adolescent depression during the pandemic is associated with adolescents’ own fears and uncertainties, as well as high levels of parenting stress, according to Freed.
“Isolation during the pandemic may trigger new problems for some teens, but for others, the situation has exacerbated existing emotional health issues,” he said.
Three-quarters of parents said the pandemic had negatively impacted their teens’ relationships with their friends, and 64% said their teens had texted, used social media (56%), played online games. online (43%) and spoken on the phone (35%) every day or almost every day.
Few parents reported that their teens met in person with friends every day or almost every day, indoors (9%) or outdoors (6%).
“Peer groups and social interactions are an essential part of development during adolescence. But these opportunities have been limited during the pandemic,” Freed said. “Many teens can feel frustrated, anxious and disconnected from social estrangement and the lack of usual social media, such as sports, extracurricular activities, and spending time with friends.”
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