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Prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of psychological health problems in Chinese adolescents during the outbreak of COVID-19.

ABSTRACT

Psychological health problems, especially emotional disorders, are common among adolescents. The epidemiology of emotional disorders is greatly influenced by stressful events. This study sought to assess the prevalence rate and socio-demographic correlates of depressive and anxiety symptoms among Chinese adolescents affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. We conducted a cross-sectional study among Chinese students aged 12-18 years during the COVID-19 epidemic period. An online survey was used to conduct rapid assessment. A total of 8079 participants were involved in the study. An online survey was used to collect demographic data, assess students' awareness of COVID-19, and assess depressive and anxiety symptoms with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) questionnaire, respectively. The prevalence of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and a combination of depressive and anxiety symptoms was 43.7%, 37.4%, and 31.3%, respectively, among Chinese high school students during the COVID-19 outbreak. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that female gender was the higher risk factor for depressive and anxiety symptoms. In terms of grades, senior high school was a risk factor for depressive and anxiety symptoms; the higher the grade, the greater the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Our findings show there is a high prevalence of psychological health problems among adolescents, which are negatively associated with the level of awareness of COVID-19. These findings suggest that the government needs to pay more attention to psychological health among adolescents while combating COVID-19.