University of Copenhagen: Lockdowns did not significantly affect young people’s mental health

Young people’s mental health has not been affected by the two corona lockdowns, a new study from the University of Copenhagen concludes. But in the short run, it did suffer temporarily.

Young people will get lonely, depressed and anxious. During the corona crisis, we talked a lot about the effect of the two national lockdowns on especially young people’s mental health.

But a new study from the University of Copenhagen now suggests that there may not have been reason to worry.

“We did not find any strong indicators of a continued negative effect on mental health measured as quality of life, mental well-being and loneliness. Neither in the first nor the second national lockdown,” says Associate Professor at Public Health Katrine Strandberg-Larsen, who headed the study.

The researchers collected data from approximately 30,000 young people aged 18-24 years, who before, during and after the lockdowns answered the same questions about quality of life, mental well-being and loneliness.

On a general level, the figures are reassuring, suggesting that the lockdowns did not have a long-term effect.

Katrine Strandberg-Larsen
Studying their answers, the researchers used two different methods. The figures from the first method show that following the last lockdown in spring 2021 the level of loneliness was the same as before the lockdowns, whereas the levels for quality of life and mental well-being were slightly lower.

The second method showed virtually no difference between young people’s mental health before and after the lockdowns, respectively.

“On a general level, the figures are reassuring, suggesting that the lockdowns did not have a long-term effect. We have previously shown that quality of life increased with reopening, and I therefore predict that we will soon see a similar normalisation of quality of life and mental well-being,” says Katrine Strandberg-Larsen.

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