Girls May Be Struggling More Throughout the Pandemic, Study Says

Here’s why girls reported higher levels of depression and anxiety.

By: Amanda Mushro

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Photo by: Elva Etienne

Elva Etienne

There is no denying that living through a pandemic has greatly affected our children. Between balancing remote learning and an interrupted school year, missing friends and family, and not being able to take part in activities they love, we’ve asked a lot of our kids. As we take stock of our own mental health, it’s important to do the same for our kids. While all kids are different and have handled these pressures uniquely, one study says girls may be struggling more with the pandemic than boys.

According to a recent study in JCPP Advances, a survey of over 500 teens in Iceland shows that while boys and girls were both affected by Covid 19, girls reported much higher levels of depressive symptoms and a greater negative impact on their well-being because of the pandemic.

Researchers say girls reported higher levels of worry and stress over family and friends contracting the virus, and added that both boys and girls reported they missed seeing friends. But for girls, the absence of friends in their daily lives had a greater impact on their mental health.

When asked how they spent their time during the pandemic, girls and boys reported very different activities — and that may offer insight into how their mental health was affected.

Girls reported using social media more and self-isolating during the pandemic. Many girls added that they weren’t talking or texting with friends as much because of their depressive feelings. However, boys reported an increase in gaming during the pandemic, which offered a release during stressful times and helped them stay connected with friends.

So, what can parents do to help their girls and boys as they deal with the effects of the pandemic? Researchers say a steady routine and remaining socially connected is the key to helping kids cope with their pandemic-induced feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. This means maintaining a normal school routine (as much as possible during this time) and finding after-school activities that help kids connect to their peers and stay physically active.

While there is still so much uncertainty for our kids because of Covid, it’s important for parents to prioritize normalcy and check in on their kids more often. Researchers also note the importance of parents, teachers, and healthcare providers staying vigilant and watching kids for depressive symptoms in order to offer help and support as needed.

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