Teens in COVID-19 lockdown wanted for mental health impact study

Media Release 

15 May 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, a South Australian research team is looking at the impact of mass lockdowns on children’s mental health and wellbeing.

The Joint Research Lab at Flinders University in Adelaide will investigate the experiences of Australian middle school students aged 11 to 16 years during the lock-down as part of a global study including 18 other countries: Chile, China, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malta, Mexico, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Taiwan, USA as part of the Global Research Alliance.

Dr Grace Skrzypiec says this study will look into the psycho-social development of adolescents and their experiences of peer aggression as they adjust to a lock-down environment and learning from home around the world.

“Social interactions and team activities during adolescence are paramount for promoting wellbeing and happiness as the influence of positive social connections for psycho-social outcomes include, feeling validated, cared for, understood and accepted.

“Restricting social interactions through social distancing could impede adolescent psycho-social development and lead to mental health difficulties. However there may be advantages to social distancing, such as decreases in physical altercations and bullying.

“Vulnerable students victimised prior to the lock-down, may have benefitted from the social distancing measures, and this is also important to investigate,” says Dr Skrzypiec.

Recent studies from China have reported an increase in anxiety and depression among young adults  and similar findings among adolescents would not be surprising. However, the impact of lock-down on adolescents is not clear.

“This new study will address this gap in our knowledge as well as allow a comparison with conditions prior to the lock-down. In addition to depression and anxiety, the same resilience and wellbeing variables will be measured.

“The aim of the study is to inform what pastoral care programs will be needed when students return to school, particularly in schools where social-distancing may be required,” adds Dr Skrzypiec.

The study can be done anonymously and is based online at: research-all.org/covid-19-lock-down-questionnaire-for-students.php

The Global Research Alliance is also running a study about teachers experiences during this crisis at research-all.org/Survey-Questionnaires.php, led by Italian Colleagues who are part of the Joint Research Lab with Flinders University.

Source: Flinders University

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