Impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health of adolescents in India and their perceived causes of stress and anxiety

Brinda Prasanna Kumar, Adarsh Eregowda, Sahana Giliyaru


Background: Outbreak of the 2019 novel Corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unanticipated psychological impact globally. Mental health of adolescents also requires significant attention. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the psychological stress and anxiety among adolescents in India during the COVID-19 pandemic and identify the most important precursors.

Methods: An online survey was undertaken where adolescents in the age group of 10 to 19 years were invited to participate with a self-administered questionnaire. A snowball sampling strategy was used, focusing on recruiting adolescents living in Bangalore, India. Perceived stress scale-4 (PSS-4) and Generalized anxiety disorder-2 (GAD-2) Scale were used. Questionnaires were anonymous to ensure confidentiality and reliability of data. Data collection took place over five days

Results: 156 (52.0%) had a high PSS-4 score of ≥8 and 132 (44.0%) respondents had a high GAD-2 score of ≥3. Female gender and age were found to be statistically significant detrimental factors of stress and anxiety respectively (p<0.05). Academic delay and uncertainty about the future were found to be the most significant causes of perceived psychological distress among adolescents.

Conclusions: Majority of the adolescents experienced varying degrees of stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our findings have both clinical and policy implications. The findings of our study indicate the need to identify adolescents as high-risk groups to ensure timely targeted psychological interventions and stress mitigating measures.


Mental health, COVID-19, Adolescents, Psychological distress, Stress, Anxiety

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