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Positive Youth Development Could Protect PTSD Brought About by COVID-19, Experts Reveal

A recent study has revealed that positive youth development or PYD could protect against symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD brought about by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Photo: Mental Health Challenges in Youth During COVID-19 Pandemic | InStyleHealth

During a survey across five schools in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, the experts assessed PYD in 4,981 adolescents with average age of 13.5 years, 51.5% were girls. The data were gathered in two waves: the first before school lockdown and the second after its resumption. PYD qualities, as well as perceived threats of the pandemic and PTSD symptoms, were also evaluated during the surveys.

PYD was evaluated using the Chinese Positive Youth Development Scale, which looks at psychosocial competencies across the domains of emotion, resilience, bonding with others, and self-efficacy.

There were more than 90% of the adolescents believed that COVID-19 pandemic to be moderately or very severe, and a similar proportion of responses claimed that COVID-19 is dangerous. On the other hand, relatively fewer (38.4%) believed that it was likely for them to get infected with COVID-19.

Regarding mental health, 15% of 28% of the respondents had PTSD symptoms; 517 participants scored 30 or above in the Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale, indicating that there was 10.4% prevalence of excessive PTSD symptoms.

COVID-19 threat perception was significantly and positively associated with PTSD symptoms. Although, PYD at the first wave revealed an inverse correlation with PTSD. Hierarchical regression confirmed that perceived COVID-19 threat worsened PTSD, while PYD was significantly protective.

Researchers said that practically speaking the present findings suggest the importance of strengthening PYD qualities in adolescents via PYD programs. Taking into account the available evidence and cultural propriety.


Source: J Adolesc Health 2021;68:676-682

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