Children feel very stressed by Corona

The quality of life of children and adolescents in Germany deteriorated during the Corona crisis. This is shown by the COPSY study (Corona and Psyche) by the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). Nationwide, children and parents were surveyed on this topic for the first time. The pandemic has “reduced the quality of life and mental wellbeing of children and adolescents and increased the risk of mental health problems. Most children and adolescents feel stressed, are increasingly worried, pay less attention to their health and complain more often about family disputes. In every second child, the relationship with their friends suffered from lack of contact,” summarizes Prof. Dr. Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer from UKE, the head of the study.

71 percent of the children and young people surveyed feel burdened by the crisis. Two thirds of them report a reduced quality of life and lower mental well-being. “We expected mental well-being to deteriorate during the crisis. We were also surprised that it turned out to so clearly have done so,” says Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer.

Signs of this strain include hyperactivity, emotional and behavioral problems. Irritation (in 54 percent of children) and problems falling asleep (44 percent) as well as headache and abdominal pain (40 and 31 percent) also occur more frequently. For two thirds of children and adolescents, school and learning are more demanding than before Corona. They have problems coping with everyday school life and sometimes find it extremely stressful. The mood in families has also declined: 27 percent of children and adolescents and 37 percent of parents report that they quarrel more frequently than before the Corona crisis.

Certain groups are particularly affected, such as children whose parents have a low level of education or a migrant background. A lack of financial resources and a cramped living space often lead to a high risk of mental health problems. Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer, therefore, demands: “We urgently need concepts for how we can better support families in times of stress. We know that when the parents are burdened, so are the children. And when different stresses come together, the risk of psychological abnormalities increases.”

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Impressionen zum Leben in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie: Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL; Mostafa Elyasian, 16.07.2020

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