Minors in contact with COVID-19 have more problems with depression and anxiety

Children and teenagers who have had direct contact with COVID-19 have more problems with anxiety, social anxiety and depression.

This is the result of a study performed recently by the co-director of the Master’s Degree in Psychology and Psychotherapy at the University of Valencia, José Gil, which analysed 39 people (aged six to 16) tended to during the 20-21 school year in the framework of this postgraduate course and the Local Psychology Service of the town of Alcàsser.

The study compares children and minors in contact with COVID-19 – either for having suffered the illness, having been confined or due to the decease of a relative – with those of the same age group who require psychological treatment for different issues.

In general, when comparing our practice – with children without direct contact with COVID – with children who have been in contact with the disease, there is a difference in the type of psychological issues.

Whereas those that have had direct contact with COVID show more internalised issues (depression, anxiety, social anxiety and somatic complaints), minors who seek psychiatric help for causes that are not related to the virus have more externalised issues such as attention disorders, hyperactivity, anger, aggression or a challenging behaviour.

Especially noteworthy are the differences in issues linked to social anxiety (13 points higher in the case of children and teenagers who have been in contact with COVID) and anxiety and somatic complaints, with nine and eight points more, respectively.

The importance of the family environment

Furthermore, the study stresses the importance of the family environment in the issues of the child-youth population and in the modulation of the psychopathological severity. Specifically, it underlines how the way in which COVID-19 is endured directly impacts the appearance of psychological issues in these groups.

In this sense, the sample of the study has more psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, obsession, compulsion and post-traumatic symptoms in the cases of minors whose family environments have suffered the COVID-19 pandemic intensely and with severity.