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Children's Depression Symptoms Up During U.K. Lockdown

No significant changes seen in RCADS anxiety subscale, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire emotional problems subscale

a boy looking sad

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Children's depressive symptoms increased substantially during the U.K. lockdown relative to before lockdown, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Giacomo Bignardi, from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal examination of changes in childhood mental health before and during lockdown. Mental health assessments, including self-reports, caregiver reports, and teacher reports, were conducted for 168 children (aged 7.6 to 11.6 years) before and during U.K. lockdown (April to June 2020).

The researchers found that during the U.K. lockdown, there was a significant increase in depression symptoms, as measured by the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) short form. A medium-to-large effect size was suggested by the confidence intervals. No significant changes were seen in the RCADS anxiety subscale or the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire emotional problems subscale.

"We observed a statistically significant increase in ratings of depression, with a medium-to-large effect size," the authors write. "Our findings emphasize the need to incorporate the potential impact of lockdown on child mental health in planning the ongoing response to the global pandemic and the recovery from it."

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