Examining the Effects of Social Isolation on Child and Adolescent Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Rampling, Heather
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The COVID-19 pandemic response brought about the implementation of quarantine measures that led to experiences of social isolation for children and adolescents. This capstone paper investigates the effects of COVID-19-related forced social isolation on children and adolescent's mental health and highlights the vital role of community and mental health support in mitigating negative effects on childhood mental health. This paper analyzes peer-reviewed studies to gain an understanding of the relationship between COVID-19 forced social isolation and children and adolescent mental health as well as moderating factors. Observed child and adolescent mental health consequences included increases in depression symptoms, loneliness, internalizing symptoms, maladaptive coping mechanisms, and changes in the presentation of anxiety symptoms. As peer relationships and involvement in extracurricular activities play a crucial role in children and adolescents emotional and social development, including supporting emotional regulation, this paper advocates for efforts to protect access to these critical social contexts. Additionally, the developmental implications of social isolation and deprivation of in-person relationships and experiences during COVID-19 social isolation highlight the importance of appropriate clinical interventions to bolster resilience and coping skills in children and adolescents. The family context also cannot be minimized, and the findings of this paper emphasize the role of family relationships in exacerbating or buffering negative changes in child and adolescent mental health symptomology. These findings highlight the need for policymakers to consider a balanced approach between disease containment measures and protecting child and adolescent mental health in future pandemic or disaster responses.
social isolation , COVID-19 , adolescent mental health , anxiety , depression , internalizing symptoms , maladpative coping mechanisms
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess