TOGETHER to prevent mental ill-health caused by COVID-19 in adolescents

Collaborators of the MeSHe project join forces to work on preventing mental ill-health caused by COVID-19 in adolescents.

It is a fact today that the coronavirus affects our lives and well-being on several different levels. Besides the obvious impact on our physical health it has - even if somewhat delayed, but dramatic- impact on our mental health, too. Adolescent, being in a high vulnerability period of human development constitutes one of the largest high-risk group of being negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our hypothesis is that Covid -19 pandemic coupled increase in stress, anxiety, fear of illness, imbalance between school-work and private life, social isolation…etc caused measurable and critical impact on the adolescents’ life. These will be reflected in the escalation of substance use, eating problems, hopelessness, and even increased appearance of antisocial behaviours, self-harm and suicide attempts in high-school students.

If our data verify this, then immediate and adequate actions are required to prevent the severity and the persistence of these complains.

The specific aims and goals of this study are:

  1. To assess mental and somatic health and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on these in high-school students during September-November 2020.
  2. To strengthen cooperation (during September-December 2020) between Social Services, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Care, High-schools and the Social Psychiatric Care program team at University West with the goal to be able to offer (during 2021) adequate and relevant, instant support and care for adolescents in need.

 

In the MeSHe study participating countries are:

  • Sweden
  • Morocco
  • Serbia
  • Vietnam
  • USA

 

The MeSHe Survey

The present project is created and led by Nóra Kerekes (University West, Department of Health Sciences, Trollhättan, Sweden). The survey includes the following instruments:

1.     A background questionnaire about: somatic and mental health, psychosocial factors.

2.     Life history of aggression (LHA). The LHA scale assesses trait aggression and antisocial behavior. The LHA scale consists of eleven items. The items are distributed over three subscales: Aggression scale, Consequences/Antisocial Behavior scale and Self-directed Aggression scale.

3.     Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). BSI is a self-report inventory used to measure psychological distress and psychiatric symptoms. Higher scores are associated with greater psychological distress, whereas lower scores indicate better psychological well-being. 

4.     Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). The AUDIT was developed by the collaborative World Health Organization project and asks to self-report alcohol-related behaviour during the last 12 months.

5.     Drug Use Disorder Identification Test (DUDIT). The DUDIT is a screening instrument composed of 11 items identifying consumption patterns and different problems related to the use of drugs in general or clinical populations.

6.     Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule Expanded Form 30 items (PANAS-X30). PANAS is an instrument used to measure two general affective state dimensions: positive and negative affect.

7.     Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (LTEQ). It is a 3+1-item scale for assessing the frequency and intensity of physical exercise during a typical seven-day period. 

8.   Big Five Inventory (BFI). The BFI 44-item inventory that measures an individual on the Big Five Factors (dimensions) of personality.