The first lockdown led to a significant increase in symptoms of depression among children, highlighting the unintended consequences of school closures, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Government implemented a national ‘lockdown’ involving school closures and social distancing. There has been widespread concern that these measures would negatively impact child and adolescent mental health. To date, however, there is relatively little direct evidence of this.
To test whether changes in emotional wellbeing, anxiety and depression symptoms occurred during lockdown since their initial assessment, a team at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, examined data from mental health assessments on 168 children (aged 8-12 years) before and during the UK lockdown. These assessments included self-reports, caregiver-reports, and teacher-reports.
“Put differently, if you randomly selected a child from the sample there is a 70% chance that their depression symptoms were worse during lockdown than before the pandemic.”
The results of their study are published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Release date: 08 December 2020
Source: University of Cambridge