OSU study: Young adult mental health worsened during pandemic

The following article was originally published in the Ohio Capital Journal and published on News5Cleveland.com under a content-sharing agreement.

COLUMBUS, Ohio—A study by researchers at Ohio State University showed adolescent males had worsened mental health during the pandemic.


“It made my whole life weird,” said one participant in response to a question about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted them.

In the study, recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, nearly 32% of participants reported a worsened mood since March 15, 2020, the date when Ohio closed restaurants and businesses to avoid COVID-19 spread.

Nearly 33% of participants reported increased anxiety since that date.

“Physical distancing measures, which reduce coronavirus transmission, have led to feelings of isolation during the pandemic,” according to the study. “Which is concerning because studies conducted over the past 70 years suggest that loneliness and isolation increase the risk of depression and possibly anxiety among previously healthy children and adolescents.”

The study cited nationwide research that showed a 25% increase in thoughts of suicide among young adults aged 18-24 years in June of 2020.

“Moreover, 25% of young adults used substances to deal with the stress of the pandemic, and 75% had at least one mental or behavioral health symptom during the past 30 days (before June 2020),” the study stated.

Results in the study came from an online survey conducted in June of last year of male pre-teens and teens. 80% of the 571 kids who participated in the survey reported being while, and 8.8% were Black.

Survey overseers said 3/4 of the survey takers came from households with an income of more than $50,000, and the average age of those taking the survey was 18.5 years.

A departure from the study author’s hypothesis was the connection between a higher socio-economic status and an increase in mental health impacts.

For those in households with a higher socio-economic status, one or more parents are likely to be working from home, along with the stay-at-home schooling the children are doing.

Read More