Risk & Protective Factors for Youth Mental Health Symptoms During Covid-19

A study published in Frontiers in Pediatrics (2021) identified risk and protective factors for mental health symptoms associated with lifestyle changes caused by home confinement in pediatric subjects and in children and adolescents with a neuropsychiatric disorder.

The sample included 9,688 pediatric subjects, and 289 children and adolescents with a neuropsychiatric disorder.

In pre- and school children: male sex, a diagnosis of autism, residency in highly affected areas, high parental educational level or job loss, and screen time (>2 h/day) were risk factors.

Physical activity, home-schooling, reading, talking with other people were protective factors.

Screen time was also a risk factor for anxiety symptoms, while physical activity, reading and talking with other people were protective factors.

The authors concluded that physical activity was the most important protective factor for all tests in school children and adolescents.

Increasing youth physical activity, while simultaneously limiting their screen time, are critical targets for preventing mental health problems associated with home confinement due to Covid-19.

Health and prevention specialists, teachers, coaches, and parents should provide youth with motivational lifestyle behavior programs, like the evidence-based SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness intervention, along with opportunities to participate in both indoor and outdoor physical activity and sports to address critical risk and protective factors related to youth mental health.

Read the entire article: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2021.664702/full

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