Which students are most at risk for mental health issues during COVID-19 lockdowns?

PICTURE: Students most likely to experience depression, anxiety, or a deterioration in well-being during partial school closures were women, had experienced food poverty, or had previously accessed … see After

Credit: JCPP Advances

A new study published in JCPP advances compared the well-being of UK students who stayed home for school during the first lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic with those who entered the school in person.

In the study, which included 11,765 students in grades 8 to 13 (ages 12 to 21), girls, students who had experienced food poverty and those who had previously sought mental health support were most at risk for depression, anxiety and deteriorating well-being. Students who entered face-to-face instruction had poorer mental health, but this was explained by their different characteristics and circumstances.

“Identifying the circumstances that might make some students particularly vulnerable during closures is important, both for allocating limited places in schools and for effectively supporting their education and well-being,” said lead author Karen L. Mansfield, PhD, University of Oxford, UK. “We were successful in collecting responses from a diverse group of pupils during the first period of partial school closures in the UK, and our results highlighted established risk factors as well as other circumstances of increased relevance during the lockdown that were related to student mental health and well-being. ”

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