Longitudinal change in adolescent depression and anxiety symptoms from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic

Marjolein E. A. Barendse, Jessica Flannery, Caitlin Cavanagh, Melissa Aristizabal, Stephen P. Becker, Estelle Berger, Rosanna Breaux, Nicole Campione-Barr, Jessica A. Church, Eveline A. Crone, Ronald E. Dahl, Tracy A. Dennis-Tiwary, Melissa R. Dvorsky, Sarah L. Dziura, Suzanne van de Groep, Tiffany C. Ho, Sarah E. Killoren, Joshua M. Langberg, Tyler L. Larguinho, Lucia Magis-WeinbergKalina J. Michalska, Jordan L. Mullins, Hanna Nadel, Blaire M. Porter, Mitchell J. Prinstein, Elizabeth Redcay, Amanda J. Rose, Wendy M. Rote, Amy K. Roy, Sophie W. Sweijen, Eva H. Telzer, Giana I. Teresi, April Gile Thomas, Jennifer H. Pfeifer

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46 Citations (Web of Science)


This study aimed to examine changes in depression and anxiety symptoms from before to during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in a sample of 1,339 adolescents (9–18 years old, 59% female) from three countries. We also examined if age, race/ethnicity, disease burden, or strictness of government restrictions moderated change in symptoms. Data from 12 longitudinal studies (10 U.S., 1 Netherlands, 1 Peru) were combined. Linear mixed effect models showed that depression, but not anxiety, symptoms increased significantly (median increase = 28%). The most negative mental health impacts were reported by multiracial adolescents and those under ‘lockdown’ restrictions. Policy makers need to consider these impacts by investing in ways to support adolescents’ mental health during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-91
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Study ARC was funded by an anonymous private donor and by the Bezos Family Foundation (PIs Magis‐Weinberg and Dahl). Study BLP was funded by the European Research Council (PI Crone; grant no. ERC CoG PROSOCIAL 681632). Study CAT was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (PI Redcay; grant no. R01MH107441). Study EFC was funded by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and University of Texas start‐up funds (PI Church). Study KLG was supported by grants from the Hellman Fellows Fund and the National Institute of Mental Health/UCR Center for Health Disparities Research (PI Michalska; grant no. NIMH/UCR HDR U54MD013368). Study LIS was funded by the Institution of Education Sciences (PIs: Langberg & Becker; grant no. R305A160126), a Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation Research Innovation/Pilot (RIP) Award and a grant from the Virginia Tech COVID‐19 Rapid Response Seed Fund (PIs and CoIs: Becker, Langberg, Dvorsky, Breaux, & Sciberras). Study MFS was funded by the National Science Foundation (PI Campione‐Barr, grant no. 00047447), University of South‐Florida SP Internal Research Award (PI Rote) and University of Missouri Research Council (PI Killoren). Study NT/TTP was funded by the NIH (grant no. R01DA039923 for NT/TTP), National Science Foundation (grant no. SES 1459719 for NT), and Jacobs Foundation (grant no. 2018‐1288‐13 for TTP); PIs Telzer and Prinstein. Study SDS was funded by the National Science Foundation (PIs Thomas and Cavanagh; grant no. NSF‐2018‐1,826,773), American Psychological Foundation (PI Thomas), UTEP Center for Law and Border Studies (PI Thomas), and University of Texas at El Paso Internal Research Funding (PI Thomas). Study TAB was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (PI Dennis‐Tiwary; grant no. R56MH111700). Study TAG was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (PI Pfeifer; grant no. R01MH107418). Study TGR was supported by the National Institutes of Health (K01MH117442 to Ho, R37MH101495 to Gotlib), Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation (Child and Adolescent Depression Fellow Award to Ho), Stanford Maternal and Child Health Research Institute (Early Career Award and K Support Award to Ho), Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging (Seed Grant to Ho), and Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund (to Ho). The funding agencies had no role in the design of the study or the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data or in writing the manuscript, apart from their financial contribution; the content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of any of the funding agencies. We would like to thank Claire Chie for her assistance in reliability coding and all participants and their families for their involvement in the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Society for Research on Adolescence.

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