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

European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Forthcoming

23 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2020 Last revised: 19 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). European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Forthcoming, 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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