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News Archives

Kids & Quarantine – Update Report (Atlantic)

Wednesday October 21st, 2020

By : Jean M. Twenge|
Source : The Atlantic

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States in March, work and school moved online, restaurants closed, and unemployment soared. The effects on mental health were immediate: U.S. adults in spring 2020 were three times more likely to experience mental distress, anxiety, or depression than adults in 2018 or 2019. According to data collected by the Census Bureau, anxiety and depression rose even further among American adults in June and July, after the killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests.

How American teenagers fared during this time is more of a mystery. With teens no longer going to school and few able to see friends, many people worried about how teens would adapt. However, teens’ experiences of these events might differ from adults’, just as responses to the Great Depression varied by age.

To better understand the experiences of teenagers during this unique time, my colleagues and I fielded a survey of 1,523 U.S. teens from May to July this year, asking about their mental health, family time, sleep, technology use, and views on the race-related protests and the police. We assessed mental well-being using four measures: life satisfaction, happiness, symptoms of depression, and loneliness. We then compared the 2020 teens’ responses with responses to identical questions from a similar survey in 2018.

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