Quality of Life and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany: Results of a Two-Wave Nationally Representative Study

29 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 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

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

Heike Hölling

Robert Koch Institute

Robert Schlack

Robert Koch Institute

Constanze Löffler

University of Hamburg - University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

Klaus Hurrelmann

Public Health and Education, Hertie School

Christiane Otto

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

Date Written: March 5, 2021

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the lives of children and adolescents worldwide. Numerous cross-sectional studies indicate high levels of emotional and behavioral problems and a decrease in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in children and adolescents during the first months of the pandemic. However, longitudinal studies on changes in HRQoL and mental health in children and adolescents during the pandemic are limited. The German COPSY study is one of the first representative longitudinal studies to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HRQoL and mental health in children and adolescents in two waves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: A representative online survey was conducted between May and June 2020 among n = 1,586 families with 7- to 17-year-old children and adolescents. The second wave was conducted between December 2020 and January 2021 and included n = 1,625 families, of whom n = 1,288 had already participated in the first wave. The data collected was compared with pre-pandemic reference data from the representative BELLA and HBSC studies. The self-report and parent-proxy versions of the survey included internationally established instruments for measuring HRQoL (KIDSCREEN-10), mental health problems (SDQ), anxiety (SCARED), depressive symptoms (CES-DC) and psychosomatic complaints (HBSC-SCL).

Results: The majority of the children and adolescents reported being burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic in both waves of the study. In the second wave, the proportions of children and adolescents reporting low HRQoL, anxiety, depressive symptoms and psychosomatic complaints had increased compared both to pre-pandemic data and to the first wave. Socially disadvantaged children as well as the children of mentally ill parents were at risk of being particularly adversely affected. A positive family climate was found to be an important resource mitigating the burden caused by the pandemic.

Discussion: Health promotion, prevention and early intervention strategies need to be implemented to support children and adolescents in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect and maintain their HRQoL and mental health.

Note: Funding Statement:The COPSY study was funded by the Kroschke Child Foundation. The funders had no influence on study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or the preparation of the manuscript.

Declaration of Interests: None of the authors has any conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethics Approval Statement: The COPSY study was approved by the Local Psychological Ethics Committee (LPEK-0151) and by the Commissioner for Data Protection of the University of Hamburg.

Keywords: COVID-19, longitudinal study, mental health, quality of life, children and adolescents

Suggested Citation

Ravens-Sieberer, Ulrike and Kaman, Anne and Erhart, Michael and Devine, Janine and Hölling, Heike and Schlack, Robert and Löffler, Constanze and Hurrelmann, Klaus and Otto, Christiane, Quality of Life and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany: Results of a Two-Wave Nationally Representative Study (March 5, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3798710 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3798710

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

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

Heike Hölling

Robert Koch Institute ( email )

Berlin
Germany

Robert Schlack

Robert Koch Institute ( email )

Berlin
Germany

Constanze Löffler

University of Hamburg - University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf ( email )

Martinistrasse 52
Hamburg, D - 20246
Germany

Klaus Hurrelmann

Public Health and Education, Hertie School ( email )

Christiane Otto

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

Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,200
Abstract Views
2,666
rank
20,885
PlumX Metrics