OBJECTIVES: to evaluate the impact of school closures, as a measure to contain the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection, on the psychological well-being of students of all levels starting from the 2020-2021 school year. DESIGN: a systematic literature review was conducted according to the PRISMA 2020 Guidelines. The literature search was conducted on 4 different databases: MedLine, Embase, PsycINFO, and L.OVE Platform. Quantitative observational studies published until 10.01.2022 were included. Studies conducted during the first pandemic wave, i.e., during the 2019-2020 school year and/or during the mandatory lockdown or confinement period, were excluded. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed with validated scales. Study selection, data extraction, and quality assessment were carried out independently by two authors. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: children, adolescents, and young people attending all levels of education (including universities) and, for reasons related to COVID-19, having a suspension of “in presence” school or attending classes remotely. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: a. outcomes directly related to mental health: suicides, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations for psychiatric problems; anxiety and depression, emotional difficulties, feelings of loneliness and isolation; b. well-being outcomes: sleep quality, perceived well-being (by child/adolescent/youth or referred by parents); c. health-related behaviours: tobacco smoking, alcohol, drug use. Outcomes related to school/academic performance, physical health, and those related to parents were not considered. RESULTS: after having removed duplicate articles, 2,830 records were retrieved with the bibliographic search. Twelve studies (2 uncontrolled before-after studies and 10 cross sectional surveys) were included, involving a total of 27,787 participants. Three studies involved university students, 2 involved high school students, and the remaining involved a mixed population of students attending primary and middle schools. The studies were conducted between September 2020 and April 2021. The methodological quality was rated as high in five studies and intermediate in the remaining studies. Due to the high heterogeneity of outcome measures and statistical analyses performed among the included studies, it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis of the results of the considered publications. Nevertheless, the present review showed a clear signal of increase in mental health problems in relation to school closure or virtual instruction. In particular, results suggest evidence of association between school closure and risk of suicidal attempts or thoughts, mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, emotional disorders, psychological stress. Sleeping problems, drug and alcohol addiction were poorly studied. CONCLUSIONS: despite the limitations of the included studies and possible residual confounding and contamination due to restrictive measures and social isolation implemented during the pandemic, the available evidence confirms the negative impact on students’ mental health associated with school closures and distance learning. Given the availability of vaccination also for young children, a long period of school closure should be avoided also in the case of the emergence of new pandemic waves.

School closures and mental health, wellbeing and health behaviours among children and adolescents during the second COVID-19 wave: a systematic review of the literature

Bena, Antonella;De Lorenzo, Aurelia;Lattke, Lynda Stella;Marra, Michele;Rabaglietti, Emanuela;
2022-01-01

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: to evaluate the impact of school closures, as a measure to contain the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection, on the psychological well-being of students of all levels starting from the 2020-2021 school year. DESIGN: a systematic literature review was conducted according to the PRISMA 2020 Guidelines. The literature search was conducted on 4 different databases: MedLine, Embase, PsycINFO, and L.OVE Platform. Quantitative observational studies published until 10.01.2022 were included. Studies conducted during the first pandemic wave, i.e., during the 2019-2020 school year and/or during the mandatory lockdown or confinement period, were excluded. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed with validated scales. Study selection, data extraction, and quality assessment were carried out independently by two authors. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: children, adolescents, and young people attending all levels of education (including universities) and, for reasons related to COVID-19, having a suspension of “in presence” school or attending classes remotely. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: a. outcomes directly related to mental health: suicides, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations for psychiatric problems; anxiety and depression, emotional difficulties, feelings of loneliness and isolation; b. well-being outcomes: sleep quality, perceived well-being (by child/adolescent/youth or referred by parents); c. health-related behaviours: tobacco smoking, alcohol, drug use. Outcomes related to school/academic performance, physical health, and those related to parents were not considered. RESULTS: after having removed duplicate articles, 2,830 records were retrieved with the bibliographic search. Twelve studies (2 uncontrolled before-after studies and 10 cross sectional surveys) were included, involving a total of 27,787 participants. Three studies involved university students, 2 involved high school students, and the remaining involved a mixed population of students attending primary and middle schools. The studies were conducted between September 2020 and April 2021. The methodological quality was rated as high in five studies and intermediate in the remaining studies. Due to the high heterogeneity of outcome measures and statistical analyses performed among the included studies, it was not possible to conduct a meta-analysis of the results of the considered publications. Nevertheless, the present review showed a clear signal of increase in mental health problems in relation to school closure or virtual instruction. In particular, results suggest evidence of association between school closure and risk of suicidal attempts or thoughts, mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, emotional disorders, psychological stress. Sleeping problems, drug and alcohol addiction were poorly studied. CONCLUSIONS: despite the limitations of the included studies and possible residual confounding and contamination due to restrictive measures and social isolation implemented during the pandemic, the available evidence confirms the negative impact on students’ mental health associated with school closures and distance learning. Given the availability of vaccination also for young children, a long period of school closure should be avoided also in the case of the emergence of new pandemic waves.
2022
46
5-6
1
20
https://epiprev.it/articoli_scientifici/school-closures-and-mental-health-wellbeing-and-health-behaviours-among-children-and-adolescents-during-the-second-covid-19-wave-a-systematic-review-of-the-literature
COVID-19; psychological wellbeing; school closure; systematic review; youth
Saulle, Rosella; De Sario, Manuela; Bena, Antonella; Capra, Paola; Culasso, Martina; Davoli, Marina; De Lorenzo, Aurelia; Lattke, Lynda Stella; Marra, Michele; Mitrova, Zuzana; Paduano, Stefania; Rabaglietti, Emanuela; Sartini, Martina; Minozzi, Silvia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1880125
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