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Impact of social distancing measures in the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of adolescents belonging to a birth cohort

Grant number: 20/07730-8
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: August 01, 2021 - July 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Collective Health - Epidemiology
Principal researcher:Alicia Matijasevich Manitto
Grantee:Alicia Matijasevich Manitto
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Aluísio Jardim Dornellas de Barros ; Iná da Silva dos Santos ; Luciana Tovo Rodrigues

Abstract

The emergence of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus represents a global public health challenge and Brazil is now considered the new epicenter of the pandemic. With the unavailability of treatments and vaccine, the only existing strategies to stop the infection spreading adopted by several Brazilian states were social distancing or lockdown. In addition to the inherent tensions of the pandemic and the concern for one's own health and that of loved ones, confinement at home can have severe impacts on individuals´ mental health due to the reduction of social interactions and the uncertainty of the maintenance of the income. Children and adolescents represent a particularly vulnerable group to the negative consequences of the pandemic and social isolation, and the little existing evidence suggests increased risks of developing depressive, anxious and post-traumatic stress symptoms. The project aims to assess the impact of social distancing measures during the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of 15-year-old adolescents belonging to the 2004 Pelotas Birth Cohort. In November 2019, the seventh follow-up of the cohort began. On 23rd March 2020, social distancing measures were decreed in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and the follow-up was suspended, at which point 1950 interviews had been completed. In the present project, we aimed to reevaluate the mental health of those 1950 adolescents after social distancing measures are suspended and to compare the frequency of mental health outcomes before and after these measures. New and relevant data will be produced regarding the impacts of social distancing measures on adolescent's mental health, which will subsidize actions to alleviate its consequences in later life. (AU)

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