Effects of social isolation and quarantine on mental health of children, adolescents and young adults (research up to 29 March 2020)

Added August 20, 2020

Citation: Loades ME, Chatburn E, Higson-Sweeney N, et al. Rapid Systematic Review: The Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in the Context of COVID-19. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2020 Jun 3.

What is this? Measures taken to reduce transmission of COVID-19 include social isolation, which may lead to mental health problems for, for example, children, adolescents and young adults.

In this rapid systematic review, the authors searched for studies of the relationship between loneliness and mental health problems in healthy children and adolescents and disease containment measures including quarantine and social isolation. They restricted their searches to articles published in English up to 29 March 2020. They included 63 studies.

What was found: At the time of review, the included studies showed a positive association between loneliness or social isolation and depressive and anxiety symptoms, suicidal ideation, self-harm and eating disorder risk behaviour among children, adolescents and young adults.

At the time of review, the included studies showed a significantly higher rate of PTSD and other mental health diagnoses among children, adolescents and young adults following disease containment measures.


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