Director, Adolescent Services Icahn School of Medicine/Elmhurst Ichan School of Medicine Elmhurst, New York, United States
Background: Although general effects of disasters on children’s mental health are described, little is known on the pandemic’s effects on adolescent mental health in the US.
Objective: Evaluate the pandemic's impact on adolescent mental health, specifically on anxiety. Determine if adolescents impacted by COVID19 are more likely to have anxiety than those not impacted. Analyze if adolescents with a history of depression/anxiety are likelier to have worsening anxiety.
Design/Methods: Retrospective chart review of encounters with adolescents ages 12-22 between mid-April through June 2020. We collected demographic information: age, gender, and ethnicity. We noted the presence of a history of depression, previous +PHQ9 ≥10, history of anxiety, and previous +GAD7≥10. COVID19 clinical information was gathered to define the virus’ impact on individual patients, including whether the adolescent or parents had symptoms or were diagnosed with COVID19 or whether the patient knew anyone who died of COVID19. The GAD7 was used to evaluate patients’ anxiety during the pandemic. Descriptive data analysis and chi square tests were performed using SPSS 22.0.
Results: Of the 542 eligible charts, 45 were excluded (n=497). Mean age was 16.46 (SD 2.093). The majority of participants were female and Latina. 25% had previously documented depression. Similarly, 25% had previously documented anxiety. 6.3% reported current symptoms of anxiety. 7.2% showed symptoms of COVID19, while only 2.4% were diagnosed with COVID19. 16% had family members who had symptoms of COVID19, and 11.3% of these family members were diagnosed with COVID19. 10.9% knew someone who died of COVID19. Those with a history of depression/+PHQ9 were more likely to have current +GAD7 than those with a negative history (73% vs 27%, p≤0.001). Likewise, for those with a history of anxiety/+GAD7(91% vs 19% p≤0.001). COVID19 symptoms/diagnosis, family with symptoms/diagnosis, or knowing people who died secondary to COVID19 were not associated with increased anxiety. Conclusion(s): We found that during the pandemic, a past medical history of anxiety/depression was associated with current anxiety. However, having medical symptoms or a COVID19 diagnosis was not associated with anxiety. Our study highlights the importance of identifying and monitoring adolescents at risk for anxiety, especially during the pandemic. The lack of association between COVID 19 clinical information and increased anxiety during the pandemic suggests that further exploration is needed.
Authors/Institutions: Janet H. Siegel, Ichan School of Medicine, Elmhurst, New York, United States; Thaina Rousseau-Pierre, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Jericho, New York, United States; Liz E. Cavalier, Ichan School of Medicine, Elmhurst, New York, United States