Study Finds Boys’ Mental Health More Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic than Girls’

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a greater impact on boys’ mental health than girls, contrary to the findings of other studies, according to new research led by scientists at the University of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Reading, and King’s College London.

These findings could have a significant impact on referral of adolescents to mental health services and on diagnoses, and greater awareness of age-related changes in mental health symptoms is needed by clinicians, educators, and parents, say researchers.

Researchers used their unique dataset with repeated measurement pre and during the pandemic, and, crucially, took into account the developmental differences in symptoms between boys and girls aged 11–14 years.

The paper, “COVID-19 pandemic impact on adolescent mental health: a reassessment accounting for development,” was published in the European Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Professor Helen Sharp, Professor of Perinatal and Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool said, “We have identified significant changes in the pattern of mental health needs of young people due to the pandemic.

“Our study revealed adverse effects of the pandemic, with increases in behavioral problems in both boys and girls and increased depression symptoms in adolescent boys in particular. Emotional difficulties may not be recognized easily by parents or schools. However, raised awareness should help ensure more young people are directed to sources of support and treatment.”

Lead author Nicky Wright, a Lecturer in Psychology at Manchester Met, said, “Because of the general decrease in boys’ depression with age, and the general messaging about the impact of the pandemic being greater on girls, it is likely that boys’ mental health needs are being missed, but also there may be more referrals for boys than will be anticipated.”

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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