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Psychological and Coping Strategies Related to Home Isolation and Social Distancing in Children and Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Cross-sectional Study

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Version 2 2024-02-27, 09:38
Version 1 2024-02-27, 09:27
journal contribution
revised on 2024-02-27, 09:36 and posted on 2024-02-27, 09:38 authored by Abduljaleel Abdullatif Zainel, Hamda Qotba, Alyaa Al-MaadeedAlyaa Al-Maadeed, Sadriya Al-Kohji, Hanan Al Mujalli, Atif Ali, Lolwa Al Mannai, Aisha Aladab, Hamda AlSaadi, Khalid Ali AlKarbi, Tholfakhar Al-Baghdadi

Background

In December 2019, a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 was identified as the cause of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. It rapidly spread due to human-to-human transmission, resulting in a global pandemic. Nearly every country, including Qatar, has established guidelines and regulations to limit the virus's spread and preserve public health. However, these procedures have been associated with negative effects on the psychological and intellectual well-being of individuals, including children and adolescents.

Objective

The objective of this study was to determine the psychological influence of home isolation and social distancing on children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic in Qatar, and the strategies used to cope with these measures.

Methods

This cross-sectional study used an online questionnaire administered through SMS text messaging. All home-isolated children and adolescents registered at the Primary Health Care Corporation aged 7-18 years were invited to participate in the study. Children and adolescents with intellectual disadvantages were excluded. A P value of .05 (two-tailed) was considered statistically significant.

Results

Data were collected from 6608 participants from June 23 to July 18, 2020. Nearly all participants adhered to the official regulations during the period of home isolation and social distancing; however, 69.1% (n=4568) of parents believed their children were vulnerable to the virus compared to 25% (n=1652) who expressed they were not vulnerable at all. Higher levels of anger, depression, and general anxiety were prevalent among 1.3% (n=84), 3.9% (n=260), and 1.6% (n=104) of participants, respectively. The mean score for the emotional constructs anger and depression decreased with increased compliance with regulations (P=.04 and P=.11, respectively). The differences in mean scores for all psychological and coping strategies used among participants across the 3 levels of vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 were statistically significant. The mean score varied little with increasing reported vulnerability to the virus. This mild variation can make a difference when the sample size is large, as in this study.

Conclusions

Screening for psychological and social disruptions is important for developing strategies by schools and health care providers to assess and monitor behavioral changes and negative psychological impacts during post–COVID–19 reintegration. Participants experiencing higher levels of anxiety should be given more attention during reintegration and transitional phases in schools. Although electronic devices and social media platforms may have lowered anxiety levels in some cases, it is important to address how they are used and how content is tailored to children and adolescents. It is also important to maintain an active lifestyle for children and young persons, and encourage them not to neglect their physical health, as this promotes a better psychological state of mind.

Other Information

Published in: JMIR Formative Research
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
See article on publisher's website: http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/24760

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

JMIR Publications

Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Primary Health Care Corporation
  • Hamad Medical Corporation

Methodology

This cross-sectional study used an online questionnaire administered through SMS text messaging. All home-isolated children and adolescents registered at the Primary Health Care Corporation aged 7-18 were invited to participate in the study. Children and adolescents with intellectual disadvantages were excluded. A P value of .05 (two-tailed) was considered statistically significant.

Geographic coverage

Qatar

Usage metrics

    Primary Health Care Corporation

    Licence

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