Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties in Adolescents during COVID-19: Implications for Planning Community Based Interventions
Background: The study aimed at assessing the emotional and behavioral difficulties in adolescents using the Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire. The challenges brought forth due to the COVID-19 shut down of educational institutions has created additional distress due to a lack of routine and separation from one’s peer group. Being closeted with a family for prolonged duration can exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities of conflict and mental health issues.
Method: Both males and females were selected for the study. The age of the participants was 16-18 years. The total sample size was 140 (mean age 17.5, SD 2.5), with 70 males (mean age- 17, SD 1.5) and 70 females (mean age - 16.5, SD 2.8). The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire by Goodman et al. (1998) was used, as also a detailed clinical case study was taken to identify pertinent issues and concerns.
Result: The study found significant gender differences in prosocial behavior and peer relationships in adolescents, and we assume that a role parity and empathy may be the linking factor between prosocial behavior and peer relationships. A case study is also discussed from the practitioner’s perspective that brings into focus the increased consultations due to the stressful times. Findings also bring out a need for inculcating life skills in adolescents for recognizing and managing their stressors; incorporating a balance between internalizing and sharing their feelings. Conclusion: Interventions such as yoga, physical activities that maintain distance such as aerobics to mediate stress under lockdown can be undertaken at community level. The study showed that correlations may be present between conduct problems and emotional behaviors due to similar causal factors but more research is needed in the said field.
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