ISSN: 1230-2813
Advances in Psychiatry and Neurology/Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii
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SCImago Journal & Country Rank
2/2021
vol. 30
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Adolescent mental health and activities in the period of social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic

Iwona M. Sikorska
1
,
Natalia Lipp
1
,
Paulina Wróbel
1
,
Mirella Wyra
2

1.
Institute of Applied Psychology, Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland
2.
College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Adv Psychiatry Neurol 2021; 30 (2): 79-95
Online publish date: 2021/08/15
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Introduction
The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between the forms of youth activity (in a virtual environment and in the real world) and their mental health in the period of forced social isolation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings presented here are part of a larger international project (research-all.org).

Material and methods
The subjects were students of primary and secondary schools in Kraków (N = 455), aged 11 to 18 (M = 15.38, SD = 2.10). The instruments used in this study were: the MHC-SF Karaś, Cieciuch and Keyes wellbeing scale, the Connor-Davidson CD-RSC resilience scale, and the DASS-21 Lovibond scale designed to measure depression, anxiety and stress. The participants also reported the amount of time they spent on eight types of activity (online and offline) during and before social isolation.

Results
Correlation analysis showed that the more time students spend actively in a virtual environment, the higher the level of depression (r = 0.27; p < 0.001), anxiety (r = 0.25; p < 0.001), stress (r = 0.25; p < 0.001). The duration of online activity is also negatively correlated with psychological well-being (r = –0.13; p = 0.013), emotional well-being (r = –0.15; p = 0.003) and social well-being (r = –0.12; p = 0.026). Well-being increases with a higher number of activities that are not mediated by a screen medium (r = 0.17; p = 0.001).

Conclusions
Social isolation resulted in an increase in online activity both in education and in the social life of young people. The results obtained indicate the intensification of negative affectivity in adolescents who spend more time in the online environments. Moreover, the protective role of non-Internet physical and social activities for the mental health of young people has been demonstrated.

keywords:

mental health, well-being, adolescence, Internet, COVID-19 pandemic

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