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Adolescent Carers' Psychological Symptoms and Mental Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Longitudinal Study Using Data From the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Nakanishi, M; Richards, M; Stanyon, D; Yamasaki, S; Endo, K; Sakai, M; Yoshii, H; (2022) Adolescent Carers' Psychological Symptoms and Mental Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Longitudinal Study Using Data From the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Journal of Adolescent Health 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.01.228. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Purpose: During the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescent carers in the UK may have experienced psychological distress owing to increased caring burden and loss of a break from their caring role. This study investigated longitudinal association between adolescents' caring status and mental health outcomes from 2018/2019 to February–March 2021. Methods: The participants (n = 3,927) answered mental health questions in both the Millennium Cohort Study sweep 7 survey (age 17 years in 2018/2019) and at least one of three waves of the COVID-19 survey from May 2020 to February–March 2021. Caring status at the age of 17 years was assessed using a single question regarding whether the participant regularly looked after anyone who needed care, without being paid. Outcome measures were psychological symptoms, measured using the Kessler Distress Scale, and mental well-being, measured using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale. Results: Compared with 3,616 noncarers, 311 (7.9%) adolescent carers reported significantly higher Kessler Distress Scale and lower Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale scores during the pandemic. These associations were largely explained by psychosocial risk factors. Worse outcomes were associated with poor sleep quality, attempted suicide at baseline, low social support, and a strong feeling of loneliness during the pandemic. These factors were significantly more likely to be observed among adolescent carers than noncarers. Discussion: UK adolescent carers exhibited worsened mental health outcomes one year after the first national lockdown. This increased distress may be attributable to psychosocial risk factors during the pre–COVID-19 and current COVID-19 periods, and they require psychosocial support.

Type: Article
Title: Adolescent Carers' Psychological Symptoms and Mental Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Longitudinal Study Using Data From the UK Millennium Cohort Study
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.01.228
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.01.228
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Adolescent, COVID-19, Family caregiving, Mental well-being, Psychological, Symptoms, Young carers
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10145922
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