The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’s restrictions on adolescents and adults with substance use disorder.

It is a fact today that the coronavirus affects our lives and well-being on several different levels. During 2020 people all over the world have suffered drastic changes in their lives. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, young people have been studying in distance mode, and society has been partially shut down.

We hypothesize that the prolonged societal restrictions (coupled to the COVID-19 pandemic) in the MeSHe project participating countries result in different degrees and different aspects of measurable impact on adolescents' mental and physical health.


The specific aims of the project are

  1. To assess data about how the COVID-19 pandemic and this pandemic coupled prolonged societal restrictions impacted high-school students' mental and somatic health in five different countries (in progress, September 2020-February 2021).
  2. To identify the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with prolonged societal restrictions changed high-school students' health (psychological distress, alcohol, and drug use habits, affect, pain) and behavior (aggression, self-harm, antisocial behaviors, and physical activity), and compare these between countries. (2022-2023)
  3. To test cross-cultural validity of well-known instruments measuring substance use, psychological distress, pain, and personality. (2022-2023)

Data collection (in Sweden, USA, Serbia, Morocco and Vietnam) utilizes an anonymous, voluntary, electronic survey. The survey consists of validated questionnaires in which people rate their own mental and physical health, aggressive, antisocial and self-harm behaviors, and answer questions about the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their behavior, relationships, and mood.


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.