COVID-19-Related Financial Disruptions Linked to Child Mental Health

THURSDAY, March 16, 2023 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19-policy-related financial disruptions were associated with child mental health outcomes, while school disruptions were not, according to a study published online March 13 in JAMA Network Open.

Yunyu Xiao, Ph.D., from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a cohort study based on the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study COVID-19 Rapid Response Release to examine whether financial and school disruptions related to COVID-19 containment policies and unemployment rates were associated with perceived stress, sadness, positive affect, COVID-19-related worry, and sleep. The mental health sample included 6,030 children aged 10 to 13 years.

The researchers found that experiencing financial disruption was associated with a 205.2 and 112.1 percent increase in stress and sadness, a 32.9 percent decrease in positive affect, and a 73.9 percent increase in moderate-to-extreme COVID-19-related worry, after imputing missing data. School disruption was not associated with mental health. There were no associations observed for school disruption or financial disruption with sleep.

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“We found that the primary driver of mental health was problems in the home regarding parents not having employment, or having less employment,” a coauthor said in a statement. “I think children are very sensitive as to how their parents perceive such situations.”

One author disclosed having a patent for the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) with royalties paid from the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene Royalties for commercial use of the C-SSRS.