Predictors of Mental Health Worsening Among Children and Adolescents During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Ernesto Caffo; Lisa Asta; Francesca Scandroglio


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2021;34(6):624-630. 

In This Article


Studies conducted during the pandemic found increased symptoms of mental health problems in youngsters, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms. School closures and physical distancing in many cases generated a feeling of loneliness in children and adolescents,[39] which could cause psychosocial distress.[18] A good parent–child relationship may have acted as a protective factor against loneliness and other symptoms of poor mental health[3] but on the other hand, children of parents who reported high distress showed increased levels of anxiety and depression.[39] Children and adolescents living in poor socioeconomic conditions could be more negatively impacted by the pandemic. These children had less opportunity to study from home and access mental health services, increasing preexisting social and learning gaps. Children's and adolescents' mental health may have suffered of COVID-19 changes in the presence of preexisting mental health conditions or disabilities.[48,49] Future and more accurate research should be implemented to better understand how the pandemic is impacting children's and adolescents' mental health, what are the risk factors that could worsen the outcomes, and if these consequences will last in the mid-long term. New findings will help in targeting evidence-based interventions to prevent and mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and adolescents.