Three Years into the Pandemic: Results of the Longitudinal German COPSY Study on Youth Mental Health and Health-Related Quality of Life

35 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2023

See all articles by Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer

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

Ann-Kathrin Napp

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

Anne Kaman

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

Lynn Saftig

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

Martha Gilbert

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf

Franziska Reiss

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf

Constanze Löffler

University of Hamburg - University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

Anja Simon

Infratest dimap

Klaus Hurrelmann

Hertie School

Sabine Walper

German Youth Institute DJI

Robert Schlack

Robert Koch Institute

Heike Hölling

Robert Koch Institute

Lothar H. Wieler

Robert Koch Institute

Michael Erhart

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

Date Written: December 16, 2022

Abstract

Purpose: For the past three years, the German longitudinal COPSY study has monitored changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and the mental health of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: A nationwide, population-based survey was conducted in May-June 2020 (Wave 1), December 2020-January 2021 (Wave 2), September-October 2021 (Wave 3), February 2022 (Wave 4), and September-October 2022 (Wave 5). In total, n = 2,471 children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years (n = 1,673 aged 11-17 years with self-reports) were assessed using internationally established and validated measures of HRQoL (KIDSCREEN-10), mental health problems (SDQ), anxiety (SCARED), depressive symptoms (CES-DC, PHQ-2), psychosomatic complaints (HBSC-SCL), and fear about the future (DFS-K). Findings were compared to prepandemic population-based data.

Results: While the prevalence of low HRQoL increased from 15% prepandemic to 48 % at Wave 2, it improved to 27% at Wave 5. Similarly, overall mental health problems rose from 18% prepandemic to Wave 1 through 2 (30-31%), and since then slowly declined (Wave 3: 27%, Wave 4: 29%, Wave 5: 23%). Anxiety doubled from 15% prepandemic to 30% in Wave 2 and declined to 25% (Wave 5) since then. Depressive symptoms increased from 15%/10% (CES-DC/PHQ-2) prepandemic to 24%/15% in Wave 2, and slowly decreased to 14%/9% in Wave 5. Psychosomatic complaints are across all waves still on the rise. 32-44% of the youth expressed fears related to other current crises.

Conclusions: Mental health of the youth improved in year 3 of the pandemic, but is still lower than before the pandemic.

Note:
Funding Declaration: No external funding. The study was supported by funds of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, research unit Child Public Health.

Conflict of Interests: All authors declare that there are no competing interests.

Ethics Approval: 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 Devine, Janine and Napp, Ann-Kathrin and Kaman, Anne and Saftig, Lynn and Gilbert, Martha and Reiss, Franziska and Löffler, Constanze and Simon, Anja and Hurrelmann, Klaus and Walper, Sabine and Schlack, Robert and Hölling, Heike and Wieler, Lothar H. and Erhart, Michael, Three Years into the Pandemic: Results of the Longitudinal German COPSY Study on Youth Mental Health and Health-Related Quality of Life (December 16, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4304666 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4304666

Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer (Contact Author)

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

Ann-Kathrin Napp

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

Anne Kaman

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

Germany

Lynn Saftig

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

Martha Gilbert

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf ( email )

Hamburg
Germany

Franziska Reiss

University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf ( email )

Hamburg
Germany

Constanze Löffler

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

Martinistrasse 52
Hamburg, D - 20246
Germany

Anja Simon

Infratest dimap ( email )

Moosdorfstrasse 7-9
Berlin, 12435
Germany

Klaus Hurrelmann

Hertie School ( email )

Sabine Walper

German Youth Institute DJI

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

Michael Erhart

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

Germany

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