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Media use and emotional distress under COVID-19 lockdown in a clinical sample referred for internalizing disorders: A Swiss adolescents' perspective


Werling, Anna Maria; Walitza, Susanne; Gerstenberg, Miriam; Grünblatt, Edna; Drechsler, Renate (2022). Media use and emotional distress under COVID-19 lockdown in a clinical sample referred for internalizing disorders: A Swiss adolescents' perspective. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 147:313-323.

Abstract

The COVID-19 outbreak has profoundly affected adolescents' life. Adolescents with pre-existing psychiatric disorders have been at particular risk of increased mental health problems and problematic media use. 178 patients, aged 12-18 years, referred before the COVID-19 outbreak to child and adolescent psychiatry, participated in an anonymous online survey on the impact of the lockdown on media use and mental well-being. The survey was conducted approximately one month after the first easing of restrictions following a six-week lockdown in Switzerland. Based on self-report, half of the patients had been diagnosed with internalizing disorders (ID; depression or anxiety disorder) and the other half with other disorders (non-ID, e.g. ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder). Patients with ID reported higher emotional distress during the lockdown, and a larger number of patients with ID indicated a deterioration of pre-existing symptoms compared to non-ID patients. Although more patients with ID than with non-ID indicated spending a large amount of time on social media, social media time per day in hours was not significantly higher in ID. Patients with ID indicated a higher impact of media use on well-being and mood in everyday life during the lockdown. Social media time was higher in worsened than in improved non-ID patients, while the opposite was found in ID patients, indicating a possible protective effect of media use at least for some ID patients. The results confirm positive as well as negative associations between mental health, emotional well-being and media use for adolescents with ID during the lockdown.

Abstract

The COVID-19 outbreak has profoundly affected adolescents' life. Adolescents with pre-existing psychiatric disorders have been at particular risk of increased mental health problems and problematic media use. 178 patients, aged 12-18 years, referred before the COVID-19 outbreak to child and adolescent psychiatry, participated in an anonymous online survey on the impact of the lockdown on media use and mental well-being. The survey was conducted approximately one month after the first easing of restrictions following a six-week lockdown in Switzerland. Based on self-report, half of the patients had been diagnosed with internalizing disorders (ID; depression or anxiety disorder) and the other half with other disorders (non-ID, e.g. ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder). Patients with ID reported higher emotional distress during the lockdown, and a larger number of patients with ID indicated a deterioration of pre-existing symptoms compared to non-ID patients. Although more patients with ID than with non-ID indicated spending a large amount of time on social media, social media time per day in hours was not significantly higher in ID. Patients with ID indicated a higher impact of media use on well-being and mood in everyday life during the lockdown. Social media time was higher in worsened than in improved non-ID patients, while the opposite was found in ID patients, indicating a possible protective effect of media use at least for some ID patients. The results confirm positive as well as negative associations between mental health, emotional well-being and media use for adolescents with ID during the lockdown.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Biological Psychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Adolescent psychiatry, COVID-19, Internalizing disorder, Lockdown, Problematic use of the internet, Screen media
Language:English
Date:March 2022
Deposited On:07 Mar 2022 15:55
Last Modified:26 Feb 2024 02:51
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-3956
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2022.01.004
PubMed ID:35124401