Concerns about U.S. adolescents' mental health, suicidal behavior exacerbated by COVID pandemic: study

(Xinhua) 08:46, October 14, 2022

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Social and educational disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated concerns about adolescents' mental health and suicidal behavior in the United States, said a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the study published Thursday in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, nearly three quarters of high school students under the age of 18 reported at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) during the pandemic. Among them, 53.2 percent, 12 percent, and 7.8 percent reported one to two, three, and four or more ACEs, respectively.

Adverse childhood experiences are associated with poor mental health and suicidal behaviors, and high prevalence of some ACEs have been documented during the pandemic. ACEs are preventable, potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood such as neglect, experiencing or witnessing violence, or having a family member attempt or die by suicide. Also included are aspects of a child's environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding, the study explained.

The study found that ACEs were common among U.S. adolescents during the pandemic and often resulted in acute consequences for mental health and suicidal behaviors, even among some adolescents who reported one to two ACEs.

The study noted that the prevalence of poor current mental health and past-year suicide attempts among adolescents reporting four or more ACEs during the pandemic were four and 25 times as high as those without ACEs, respectively.

The study was based on responses from more than 4,300 students in the country to the 2021 Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey, which used stratified, three-stage cluster sampling to obtain nationally representative data from U.S. public and private high school students between January and June 2021. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Du Mingming)


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