Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review

Chawla N, Tom A, Sen M, Sagar R. Psychological Impact of COVID-19 on Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. 2021 Jun;43(4):294-299. PMCID: PMC8327877.

Abstract

Background and aims:

The outbreak of COVID-19 led to a significant psychological impact on individuals, particularly those belonging to vulnerable groups. This study aimed to synthesize literature on the psychological impact of COVID-19 among children and adolescents.

Methods:

Electronic search engines were used to identify studies till March 2021 that reported symptoms of psychological origin in children and adolescents. Information was extracted using a predefined template, and qualitative analysis was conducted using STROBE.

Results:

One hundred and two relevant papers were identified. Most of the studies were conducted online or telephonically. The study designs were primarily single group cross-sectional, though a few prospective/retrospective designs were also identified. Studies assessing emotional distress showed variable levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms in the study population, with greater severity of anxiety symptoms among females and older adolescents. Reduced physical activity; delayed sleep time; increased sleep duration, screen time, internet use, and sedentary habits, poor quality of life were other notable findings, often correlating with anxiety/depression. Efforts to address bias, discussion on generalizability of their results, and sample size calculation were not reported in most studies.

Conclusion:

Psychological impact on children/adolescents is significant, either due to the fear of the illness or social isolation related to COVID-19. One may focus on improving sleep habits and physical activity and regulating internet use for maintaining psychological well-being.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/02537176211021789

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