Psychological Impacts of Social Distancing During COVID-19 Pandemic in Adolescents of Lahore, Pakistan
Keywords:COVID-19, social distancing, adolescents, psychological impacts, lockdown
AbstractBackground: After the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the WHO, every country took important measures to reduce its spread such as lockdowns and social distancing. However, lockdown and social distancing have created many problems worldwide, economically , socially, and psychologically. This research was designed to fill the gap in the literature regarding the psychological impacts upon adolescents of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, particularly in urban areas like Lahore, Pakistan. Methods: An online survey was designed, and a Google form was sent to adolescents aged 13 to 17 years old through email, WhatsApp, and Facebook groups. The survey included demographic information and the questions asked about somatic complaints, depression, anxiety, anger, repetitive thoughts, and worries regarding COVID-19. Results: Sixty-three adolescents (50.8% girls and 49.2% boys) recorded their responses from 20 April to 10 May 2020. Most of them showed symptoms of depression, anxiety, and anger. As far as gender differences were concerned, girls showed more somatic complaints (t (61)= 2.40, p= .01, t(61)=2.81 ,p=.00) whereas boys reported more anger problems (t (61)= -2.10, p=.00). No gender differences were recorded in depression and anxiety symptoms. Conclusion: Intensive psychosocial interventions are required on the part of parents, teachers, and policy makers to deal with the psychological issues of the young population. They are not only following the social distancing rules and missing campus life, but sudden shift to E-learning, and future employment insecurities make them more vulnerable to psychological disturbances.
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