Which students are at most risk of mental health problems during COVID-19 lockdowns?
A new study published in JCPP Advances has compared the wellbeing of UK students who remained at home for schooling during the first lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic with those who accessed school in person.
In the study, which included 11,765 students in grades 8-13 (aged 12-21 years), females, students who had experienced food poverty, and those who had previously accessed mental health support were at greatest risk of depression, anxiety, and a deterioration in wellbeing. Students who accessed in-person schooling had poorer mental health, but this was accounted for by their different characteristics and background circumstances.
"Identifying circumstances that could make some school pupils especially vulnerable during lockdowns is important, both for allocating limited in-school places and for effectively supporting their education and wellbeing," said lead author Karen L. Mansfield, Ph.D., of the University of Oxford, in the UK. "We managed to capture responses from a diverse group of pupils during the first UK partial school closure period, and our results highlighted established risk factors as well as other circumstances of heightened relevance during lockdown that were related to pupils' mental health and wellbeing."