Child and Adolescent Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results of the Three-Wave Longitudinal COPSY Study

24 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2022 Last revised: 4 Mar 2022

See all articles by Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

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

Martha Gilbert

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf

Franziska Reiss

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf

Claus Barkmann

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf

Nico Siegel

Infratest dimap

Anja Simon

Infratest dimap

Klaus Hurrelmann

Public Health and Education, Hertie School

Robert Schlack

Robert Koch Institute

Heike Hölling

Robert Koch Institute

Lothar H. Wieler

Robert Koch Institute

Anne Kaman

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

Date Written: February 2, 2022

Abstract

Purpose: The pandemic and associated infection control measures are accompanied by severe restrictions in the lives of adolescents. The population-based longitudinal German COPSY study monitors changes in the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and mental health of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic and identifies vulnerable groups.

Methods: A nationwide, population-based survey was conducted in 05-06/2020 (Wave 1), 12/2020-01/2021 (Wave 2) and 09-10/2021 (Wave 3). In total, n = 2,097 children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years and their parents were investigated using measures to assess HRQoL (KIDSCREEN-10), mental health problems (SDQ), anxiety (SCARED), depressive symptoms (PHQ-2) and psychosomatic complaints (HBSC-SCL).

Results: The prevalence of low HRQoL significantly increased in the first two waves and improved only slightly in Wave 3, but was still high (pre-pandemic, Wave 1, 2, 3: 15%, 40%, 48%, 35%, all differences significant). Similarly, the occurrence of overall mental health problems (15%, 20%, 31%, 29%, difference Wave 3 vs 2 significant), anxiety (15%, 24%, 30%, 27%, difference Wave 2 vs 1 significant) and depressive symptoms (10%, 11%, 15%, 11%, chronological differences between waves significant) increased during the first two waves, followed by a slight improvement in Wave 3. A group with low parental education, restricted living conditions, migration background and parental mental problems was at significantly increased risk of HRQoL and mental health impairments.

Conclusions: The prevalence of low HRQoL, mental health problems and anxiety has been elevated throughout the pandemic. Thus, mental health promotion, prevention and intervention strategies need to be implemented to support adolescents – particularly those at risk.

Note:
Funding: The COPSY study was funded by the Kroschke Child Foundation and the Fritz and Hildegard Berg Foundation.

Declaration of Interests: There is no conflict of interest, real and perceived, for all named authors.

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

Keywords: SARS-COV-2, longitudinal study, mental health, health-related quality of life, adolescents, depression, anxiety

Suggested Citation

Ravens-Sieberer, Ulrike and Erhart, Michael and Devine, Janine and Gilbert, Martha and Reiss, Franziska and Barkmann, Claus and Siegel, Nico and Simon, Anja and Hurrelmann, Klaus and Schlack, Robert and Hölling, Heike and Wieler, Lothar H. and Kaman, Anne, Child and Adolescent Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results of the Three-Wave Longitudinal COPSY Study (February 2, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4024489 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4024489

Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

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

Martha Gilbert

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf ( email )

Hamburg
Germany

Franziska Reiss

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf ( email )

Hamburg
Germany

Claus Barkmann

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf ( email )

Hamburg
Germany

Nico Siegel

Infratest dimap ( email )

Moosdorfstrasse 7-9
Berlin, 12435
Germany

Anja Simon

Infratest dimap ( email )

Moosdorfstrasse 7-9
Berlin, 12435
Germany

Klaus Hurrelmann

Public Health and Education, Hertie School ( email )

Robert Schlack

Robert Koch Institute ( email )

Berlin
Germany

Heike Hölling

Robert Koch Institute ( email )

Berlin
Germany

Lothar H. Wieler

Robert Koch Institute ( email )

Berlin
Germany

Anne Kaman (Contact Author)

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

Germany

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