The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the anxiety of adolescents in Quebec: A nuanced outlook
Lane J, Therriault D, Dupuis A, Gosselin P, Smith J, Ziam S, Roy M, Roberge P, Drapeau M, Morin P, Berrigan F, Thibault I, Dufour M. (2021). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the anxiety of adolescents in Quebec: A nuanced outlook. Child & Youth Care Forum.
Backgound : Several studies conducted since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown its harmful effects on young people’s mental health. In Québec and Canada, few studies have focussed on adolescents, and even fewer of these studies have examined this subject using a methodology that involved comparisons of data obtained before and during the pandemic, which is the purpose of this study. Objective : The objective of this study is to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the anxiety of secondary 1 and 2 students in Québec, using data obtained before and during the pandemic. Method : Participants were 2990 French Canadian students in secondary 1 (grade 7) and secondary 2 (grade 8) in Québec. Two independent samples completed the questionnaires, one sample before the pandemic (fall 2019) and one sample during the pandemic (fall 2020). Their answers were subjected to descriptive analysis and multivariate analysis of variance. Results : Results show that the pandemic has had variable impacts on the student’s mental health, with some of them reporting negative effects on their lives, others reporting no effect, and some reporting positive effect. However, the students surveyed during the pandemic generally reported more symptoms of generalized anxiety, and higher levels of test anxiety, fear of judgment and perfectionism than the ones surveyed before the pandemic. Conclusions : The discussion puts forward possible explanations for the results obtained, which contribute to a better understanding of young adolescents’ experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also discusses the importance of developing interventions for adolescents affected by this pandemic.