Social Isolation in Times of COVID-19: Effects on Adolescents' Mental Health

Main Article Content

Luiz Antonio Del Ciampo
Ieda Regina Lopes Del Ciampo


Introduction: The pandemic caused by the new coronavirus forced the adoption of several measures for individual and collective protection measures,  including isolation, which interrupted direct social contact and started to draw the attention of researchers due to its potential risk of damage to  people’s mental health, notably for the most sensitive groups, such as adolescents.

Aim: This article presents some emotional repercussions observed in groups of adolescents, after six months of social isolation.

Methodology: Literature retrieved through Google Scholar, Medline, PubMed, Scopus, Scielo, and Cochrane Library databases related to the mental health of adolescents during the period of social isolation determined by the coronavirus pandemic, published between January and July 2020.

Results: The studies have found manifestations ranging from mild symptoms, such as boredom, inattention, agitation, irritability, fatigue and excessive worries to those of greater magnitude, such as worsening cognitive performance, exaggerated fear and varying degrees of anxiety and depression

Conclusion: The data allow us to state that social isolation has immediate effects and probably also in the medium and long term, on the behavior and emotional health of adolescents. Both healthy teenagers and those who already have a change in the pre-existing emotional state must be carefully observed and supported during the most critical moments of this global crisis.

Adolescent, mental health, social isolation, anxiety, depression

Article Details

How to Cite
Ciampo, L. A. D., & Ciampo, I. R. L. D. (2021). Social Isolation in Times of COVID-19: Effects on Adolescents’ Mental Health. Asian Journal of Pediatric Research, 5(1), 13-18.
Minireview Article


WHO. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic; 2020.

Zheng Z, Peng F, Xu B, Zhao J, Liu H, Peng J et al. Risk factors of critical & mortal COVID-19 cases: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis. J Infect. 2020;81:e16-e25.

Orgiles M, Morales A, Delvecchio E, Mazzeschi C, Espada JP. Immediate psychological effects of the COVID-19 quarantine in youth from Italy and Spain. PsyAr-Xiv preprints.
Available: Accessed 24 Nov 2020

Andrews JL, Foulkes L, Blakemore S. Peer influence in adolescence: Public- health implications for COVID-19. Trend Cogn Scienct. 2020;24:585-7.

Aman MG, Pearson DA. Challenges for child and adolescent psychiatric research in the era of COVID-19. J Child Adol Psychopharm. 2020;30:280-4.

Ransing R, Ramalho R, Orsolini L, Adiukwu F, Gonzalez-Diaz J, Larnaout A et al. Can COVID-19 related mental health issues be measured? Brain Behav Immun. 2020;88:32-4.

Cohen RIS, Bosk EA. Vulnerable youth and the COVID-19 pandemic. Pediatrics. 2020;146:1-5.

Racine N, Cooke JE, Eirich R, Korczak DJ, McArthur B, Madigan S. Child and adolescent mental illness during COVID-19: A rapid review. Psych Res. 2020; 292:1-4.

Young KS, Sandman CF, Craske MG. Positive and negative emotion regulation in adolescence: Links to anxiety and depression. Brain Sci. 2019;9:76-95.

Orben A, Tomova L, Blakemore S. The effects of social deprivation on adolescent development and mental health. Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2020;4:634–40.

Schweizer S, Gotlib IH, Blakemore S. The role of affective control in emotion regulation during adolescence. Emotion. 2020;20:80-6.

Zhou X. Managing Psychological distress in children and adolescents following the COVID-19 epidemic: A cooperative approach. Psychol Trauma. 2020;12:S76-S78.

Miller E, Ginsburg KR. Adolescent medicine: Physical and neurocognitive development. In: Medical perspectives on human trafficking in adolescents. Titchen KE, Miller E editors. Springer, Switzerland. 2020:13-19

Courtney D, Watson P, Battaglia M, Mulsant BH, Szatmari P. COVID-19 Impacts on child and youth anxiety and depression: Challenges and opportunities. Can J Psychiatry; 2020. [Epub ahead of print].

Vigo D, Patten S, Pajer K et al. Mental health of communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Can J Psychiatry; 2020. [Epub ahead of print].

Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: Rapid review of the evidence. Lancet. 2020;395:912-20.

Fuhrmann D, Knoll LJ, Blakemore S. Adolescence as a sensitive period of brain development. Trend Cogn Sciences. 2015;19:558–66.

Szcześniak D, Gładka A, Misiak B, Cyran A, Rymaszewska J. The SARS-CoV-2 and mental health: From biological mechanisms to social consequences. Progr Neuropsychopharmacol Bioll Psychiatr; 2020. [Epub ahead of print].

Rapee RM, Oar EL, Johnco CJ, Forbes MK, Fardouly J, Magson NR, et al. Adolescent development and risk for the onset of social-emotional disorders: A review and conceptual model. Behav Res Ther. 2019;123:103501.

Songco A, Hudson JL, Fox E. A Cognitive model of pathological worry in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2020;23:229-49.

Guessoum SB, Lachal J, Radjack R, Carretiera E, Minassian S, Benoit L et al. Adolescent psychiatric disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Psychia Res. 2020;291:1-6.

Zhou J, Yuan X, Qi H, Liu R, Li Y, Huang H et al. Prevalence of depression and its correlative factors among female adolescents in China during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak. Glob Health. 2020;16:69-74.

Duan L, Shao X, Wang Y, Huang Y, Miao J, d, Yang X et al. An investigation of mental health status of children and adolescents in china during the outbreak of COVID-19. J Affective Dis. 2020;275:112-8.

Cornacchio D, Crum KI, Coxe S, Pincus DB, Comer JS. Irritability and severity of anxious symptomatology among youth with anxiety disorders. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2016;55:54-61.

Fegert JM, Vitiello B, Plener PL, Clemens V. Challenges and burden of the Corona virus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic for child and adolescent mental health: A narrative review to highlight clinical and research needs in the acute phase and the long return to normality. Child Adolesc Psych Ment Health. 2020;14:1-11.

Chen F, Zheng D, Liu J, Gong Y, Guan Z, Lou D. Depression and anxiety among adolescents during COVID-19: A cross-sectional study. Brain Behav Immun 2020;88:36-8.

Zhou S, Zhang L, Wang L, Guo Z, Wang J, Chen J, et al. Prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of psychological health problems in Chinese adolescents during the outbreak of COVID-19. Eur Child Adolesc Psych. 2020;29:749-58.

Qi M, Zhou S, Guo Z, Zhang L, Min H, Li X et al. The Effect of social support on mental health in Chinese adolescents during the outbreak of COVID-19. J Adolesc Health; 2020. [Epub ahead of print]

Cao W, Fang Z, Hou G et al. The psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on college students in China. Psychiatry Res. 2020;287:1-5.

Kılınçel S, Kılınçel O, Muratdağı G, Aydın A, Usta MB. Factors affecting the anxiety levels of adolescents in home-quarantine during COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey. Asia Pac Psychiatry 2020. [Epub ahead of print]

Ruiz-Roso MB, Padilha PC, Mantilla-Escalante DC, Ulloa N, Brun P, Acevedo-Correa D et al. Covid-19 confinement and changes of adolescent’s dietary trends in Italy, Spain, Chile, Colombia and Brazil. Nutrients. 2020;12:1-18.

Xiang M, Zhang Z. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents' lifestyle behavior larger than expected. Progress Cardiovasc Dis; 2020. [Epub ahead of print]

Perissini AL, Spessoto LCF, Facio-Junior FN. Does online pornography influence the sexuality of adolescents during COVID-19? Rev Assoc Med Bras. 2020;66:564-5.

Wagner KD. Addressing the experience of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Clin Psychiatry. 2020;81:20ed13394.

Atchison CJ, Bowman L, Vrinten C. Perceptions and behavioural responses of the general public during the COVID19 pandemic: A cross-sectional survey of UK Adults. Med Rxiv; 2020. [Epub ahead of print]

Golberstein E, Wen H, Miller BF. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and mental health for children and adolescents. JAMA Pediatrics. 2020;81:1.

Gunnell D, Appleby L, Arensman E, Hawton K, John A, Kapur N et al. Suicide risk and prevention during the COVID19 pandemic. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7:468-71.

Jansen D, Kosola S, Arevalo LC, Matos MG, Boode K, Saxena S. Child and adolescent health needs attention now, and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Int J Pub Health; 2020. [Epub ahead of print]

Chen F, Zheng D, Liu J, Gong Y, Guan Z, Lou D. Depression and anxiety among adolescents during COVID-19: A cross-sectional study. Brain Behav Immun 2020;88:36-8.

Singh S, Roy D, Sinha K, Parveen S, Sharma G, Joshi G. Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Res. 2020;293:113429.

Imran N, Aamer I, Sharif MI, Bodla ZH, Naveed S. Psychological burden of quarantine in children and adolescents: A rapid systematic review and proposed solutions. Pak J Med Sci. 2020;36:1106-15.

Zhang Y, Zhang H, Ma X, Di Q. Mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemics and the mitigation effects of exercise: A longitudinal study of college students in China. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17:3722-37.

Ungar M, Theron L. Resilience and mental health: How multisystemic processes contribute to positive outcomes. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7:441–8.

Dvorsky MR, Rosanna Breaux R, Becker SP. Finding ordinary magic in extraordinary times: Child and adolescent resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eur Child Adolesc Psych. 2020;1:1-3.