The impact of anxiety in relation to COVID-19 on the life-situation of young people in Sweden

Malin Berghammer, Margaretha Jenholt Nolbris, Patrica Olaya Contreras, Maria Forsner, Anna-Clara Rullander, Susanne Ragnarsson, Janet Mattsson, Lise-Lott Rydstrom, Anna-Lena Brorson, Inger Kull, Anna Lindholm-Olinder, Marla Andreia Garcia de Avila, Stefan Nilsson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Aims: In general, COVID-19 symptoms are milder in children than inadults, but the experience of the pandemic could increase anxiety andsignificantly affect the life situation of children and adolescents. Itcould also lead to a long-term negative effect on their health. To studyhow the corona pandemic affected the life situation of children andadolescents in Sweden. Methods: A self-reported online survey wasperformed July–November 2020. Cross-sectional data were collectedusing non-probability and convenience sampling methods. The sample consisted of children 6–14 years and their guardians, and adolescents 15–19 years. The questionnaire covered items regarding the life situation including demographics, school situation, social isolation, and an open-ended question to provide a subjective expression of the living situation. A standardized measurement of anxiety was collected using the Children’s Anxiety Questionnaire (CAQ) (scores range 4–12) and the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS)(scores range 0–10). Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics andwith qualitative manifest content analysis. Results: In total, 1487 participants, 768 children with guardians and 719 adolescents participated. Most of the participants, 754 children (97.2%) and 634 adolescents (89.2%) attended school where a mixture of physical attendance and distance learning was reported by 79 children (10.2%)and 261 adolescents (36.7%). Two children (0.3%) and 298 adolescents (41.9%) reported only having distance learning. A larger proportion of children (n = 339, 43.9%) and adolescents (n = 420,59.2%) reported abstaining from leisure activities, while a minority ofchildren (n = 103, 13%) and adolescent (n = 135, 19%) reportedexperiencing a feeling of ‘social isolation’. These experiences ofchanges in daily routine were prominent in the qualitative result. Social restrictions and loss of contact with older relatives led to fear and anxiety. However, for young children, their lives continued torevolve around the everyday things in life rather than the coronapandemic, for the adolescents; however, their life situation was negatively affected by isolation from peer groups and the loss ofschool routine. Conclusion: The experiences by children due toCOVID-19 in Sweden highlight the importance that children continue living their lives as unchanged as possible and that particularly adolescents need receiving greater support with the maintenance of an educational routine.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021-Oct-12
Externally publishedYes
Event28th Annual Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Research: Making valid decisions: Learning from Patient Reported Outcomes - Virtual Event
Duration: 2021-Oct-122021-Oct-28


Conference28th Annual Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Research
Abbreviated titleISOQOL 2021

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology (30302)


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