International research confirms: Lockdowns have negative impact on many young people

The coronavirus pandemic had a negative impact on physical and mental health of youth. Less young people accessed care for physical or mental health problems, while their needs for mental health care increased. Many young people exercised less, ate less healthy, and suffered more from depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Existing mental and physical health problems worsened. Poverty and poor family functioning exacerbated the problems. At the same time, young people seem resilient. Many had no or few health problems during the studied period, or their health problems decreased when restrictions were lifted. Young people also indicated that they felt less pressure during lockdowns, which they labeled as a positive experience. These findings are from a literature review conducted by Nivel and RIVM.

This first publication of the five year during Integrated Health Monitor COVID-19 is a review of the national and international scientific literature that examines the impact of the corona pandemic on the physical and mental health of youth (0 to 25 years).[1] Five domains were included; physical health, (health)care needs, mental health, social effects and other indirect effects.  

Jenny Gerbecks, who is affiliated with the research program Disasters and Environmental Hazards of Nivel, was involved in the physical symptom section, with data collection and extraction, quality assessment, and writing the results chapter. Jenny will further explore the effects of the pandemic; “For my PhD research, I will conduct a new review on the so called medically unexplained (physical) symptoms and non-specific symptoms in relation to post COVID-19-condition, and additionally will include other disasters (apart from COVID-19) from 2004 to 2021.”

The current review is part of the Integrated Health Monitor COVID-19, which aims to monitor the health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken. This monitor is conducted by the Network for Disasters Health Research (GOR), which is comprised of the municipal health services, GGD GHOR Nederland, RIVM, Nivel and ARQ Nationaal Psychotrauma Centrum. The monitor is funded by ZonMw on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

For more COVID-19 related Nivel projects visit:

[1] Bosmans, M., Marra, E., Alblas, E., Baliatsas, C., Vetten, M. de, Gameren, R. van, Schulpen, S., Moleman, Y., Bhattathiri, G., Gerbecks, J., Ditchev, L., Dückers, M. De gevolgen van de coronapandemie voor de gezondheid en het welzijn van de jeugd: een systematische literatuurstudie. Utrecht/Bilthoven: Nivel, RIVM, 2022.

Need more information?

Contact us