The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
One in three young people say their mental health and wellbeing improved during COVID-19 lockdown measures, with potential contributing factors including feeling less lonely, avoiding bullying, and getting more sleep and exercise, according to researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford.
Several previous studies have reported that the lockdown had a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people, but this effect has not been uniformly reported, with a number of studies suggesting that some young people may have benefited from lockdown.
Emma Soneson, a Ph.D. student and Gates Scholar at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, said: “The common narrative that the pandemic has had overwhelmingly negative effects on the lives of children and young people might not tell the full story. In fact, it seems as though a sizeable number of children and young people may have experienced what they felt was improved wellbeing during the first national lockdown of 2020.
Ms. Soneson and colleagues explored this issue using the OxWell Student Survey, a large, school-based survey of students aged eight to 18 years living in England. More than 17,000 students took part in the June/July 2020 survey, during the tail end of the first national lockdown, answering questions about their experiences of the pandemic, school, home life, and relationships, among others. The results of their research have been published in European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
The team found that one in three students thought their mental wellbeing had improved during the first lockdown. In fact, an almost identical number of students fell into each of the three categories: their mental wellbeing had improved; there had been no change, or they had experienced a deterioration to their wellbeing.
The highest proportions of students who reported improved mental wellbeing were among those who were in school every day (39%) and most days (35%), while the highest proportion of students who reported worse wellbeing were those who attended just once or twice (39%).
Students who felt they had had better wellbeing during lockdown were more likely than their peers to report positive lockdown experiences of school, home, relationships, and lifestyle. For example, compared with their peers, a greater percentage of students reporting better wellbeing also reported decreases in bullying, improved relationships with friends and family, less loneliness, better management of schoolwork, more sleep, and more exercise during lockdown compared with before.