COVID-19 pandemic: anxiety levels in young people have skyrocketed

  • University of Bristol
  • 19 Jun 2020

  • curated by Pavankumar Kamat
  • UK Medical News
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"As an exception during this period of health crisis, some of the publications mentioned are at the time of writing still in pre-publication, undergoing peer review and subject to change. The results of this pre-print study should be interpreted with utmost caution."

A new preprint study suggests that anxiety levels among young individuals in the UK have almost doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings come from the Children of the 90s COVID-19 questionnaire data. The first survey which was conducted between 9 April to 15 May 2020 collected information from 7000 participants regarding their COVID-19 symptoms, mental health and their lifestyle, prior to and during lockdown. A second survey is currently gathering more detailed information regarding their work, finances, lifestyle and diet along with theirs and their children’s physical and mental health.

The research found that 24 per cent of young people (age, 27-29 years) experienced anxiety during the pandemic, up from 13 per cent during the pre-pandemic time. The older generation witnessed a much lower frequency of anxiety than their children’s generation, which was comparable to pre-pandemic levels.

There was no evidence of an overall increase in depression levels, but certain groups of individuals still carried a higher risk of both depression and anxiety in the COVID-19 period. These include women, individuals with pre-existing mental and physical health conditions, those residing alone, those self-isolating and those who have been through recent financial difficulties. Key workers or healthcare workers did appear to have an increased risk of anxiety in the first survey; however, the second survey will determine the effect of occupation on anxiety levels.

Co-lead author, Rebecca Pearson at the University of Bristol said: "The findings suggest that there is a need to protect mental health at this time (especially managing anxiety) and support mental health services."