Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Quality of Life and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents

Ravens-Sieberer U, Kaman A, Erhart M, Devine J, Schlack R, Otto C, Impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on quality of life and mental health in children and adolescents in Germany, European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2021, DOI 10.1007/s00787-021-01726-5

23 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2020 Last revised: 26 Jan 2021

See all articles by Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics

Anne Kaman

University of Hamburg - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics

Christiane Otto

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics

Michael Erhart

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics

Janine Devine

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics

Robert Schlack

Robert Koch Institute - Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring

Date Written: October 5, 2020

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented changes in the lives of 1.6 billion children and adolescents. First non-representative studies from China, India, Brazil, the US, Spain, Italy, and Germany pointed to a negative mental health impact. The current study is the first nationwide representative study to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and mental health of children and adolescents in Germany from the perspective of children themselves.

Methods: A representative online survey was conducted among n = 1,586 families with 7- to 17-year-old children and adolescents between May 26 and June 10. The survey included internationally established and validated instruments for measuring HRQoL (KIDSCREEN-10), mental health problems (SDQ), anxiety (SCARED), and depression (CES-DC). Results were compared with data from the nationwide, longitudinal, representative BELLA cohort study (n = 1,556) conducted in Germany before the pandemic.

Results: Two-thirds of the children and adolescents reported being highly burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic. They experienced significantly lower HRQoL (40.2% vs. 15.3%), more mental health problems (17.8% vs. 9.9%) and higher anxiety levels (24.1% vs. 14.9%) than before the pandemic. Children with low socioeconomic status, migration background and limited living space were affected significantly more.

Discussion: Health promotion and prevention strategies need to be implemented to maintain children’s and adolescents’ mental health, improve their HRQoL, and mitigate the burden caused by COVID-19, particularly for children who are most at risk.

Keywords: COVID-19, mental health, quality of life, anxiety, depression, children and adolescents

Suggested Citation

Ravens-Sieberer, Ulrike and Kaman, Anne and Otto, Christiane and Erhart, Michael and Devine, Janine and Schlack, Robert, Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Quality of Life and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents (October 5, 2020). Ravens-Sieberer U, Kaman A, Erhart M, Devine J, Schlack R, Otto C, Impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on quality of life and mental health in children and adolescents in Germany, European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2021, DOI 10.1007/s00787-021-01726-5, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3721508 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3721508

Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics ( email )

Germany

Anne Kaman (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics ( email )

Germany

Christiane Otto

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics ( email )

Germany

Michael Erhart

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics ( email )

Germany

Janine Devine

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf - Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics ( email )

Germany

Robert Schlack

Robert Koch Institute - Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring

Berlin
Germany

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