March 13, 2023

Association of COVID-19 containment policies with children’s mental health

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian, New York City, and the University of California, Berkeley, finds that family financial disruptions caused by COVID-19 containment policies worsened children’s mental health.

This analysis included a nationwide cohort of 6,030 US children aged 10 to 13 years.

Experiencing financial disruptions, despite supportive policies, was associated with a:

  • 205.2% increase in stress
  • 112.1% increase in sadness
  • 32.9% decrease in positive affect
  • 73.9% increase in COVID-19-related worry.

School disruptions were not linked to changes in children’s mental health or sleep, and financial disruptions were not tied to sleep.

The findings suggest that policy makers should consider the mental health impacts of pandemic-related disruptions on families and children when deciding mitigating policies, the researchers say.

JAMA (healthcare publication) Network logo


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