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Original Article   

Minerva Pediatrics 2022 Jul 04

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5276.22.06891-4

Copyright © 2022 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

The pandemic seen through the eyes of the youngest people: evaluating psychological impact of the early COVID-19 related confinement on children and adolescents through the analysis of drawings and of an e-survey on their parents

Sonia DI PROFIO 1, Sara UCCELLA 2, 3, 4 , Paola CIMELLARO 1, Alessandra BIOLCATI RINALDI 1, Maria D’APRUZZO 1, Serena REBORA 1, Ludovica PRIMAVERA 1, Alice ZANETTI 1, Sara DE GIUSEPPE 1, Sabrina ROBOTTI 1, Camilla SACANNA 1, Chiara PERICO 1, Deborah PREITI 1, 3, 4, Lino NOBILI 2, 3, Angela PISTORIO 5, Cristina VENTURINO 1

1 Clinical Psychology Unit, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; 2 Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, and Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 3 Unit of Child Neuropsychiatry, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; 4 Unit of Neonatology, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; 5 Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy



BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is having a significant impact on long term children’ and adolescents’ psychological health. We aimed to evaluate the direct early psychological and behavioural signs related to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and related confinement on children and adolescents.
METHODS: Children and adolescents’ drawings were collected for a limited time window (16th March-10th April 2020) and analyzed. Their parents were asked in the following month to answer a qualitative e-survey on somatic complaints and behavioral changes of the participating children/adolescents.
RESULTS: Ninety-eight drawings by children/adolescents (mean age 7.01±2.83 years) were analysed. Analyses of the 98 drawings reported signs of trauma in all (of them, 60.2% with moderate-to high levels). Children aged 3-5 years were more impacted, followed by preadolescents/adolescents aged 11-17 years. Parents reported somatic complaints in the 71.1% of their children/adolescents: the most frequent were increased appetite (35.6%), abdominal pain (20.0%) and headache (20.0%). Behavioral changes were observed in 77.8% of subjects: increased appetite (35.6%), abdominal pain (20.0%) and headache (20.0%) were more represented.
CONCLUSIONS: Early psychological distress related to COVID-19 pandemic was observed both in children and in adolescents by the analysis of drawings and confirmed by their parents. Implementation of mental health-care services for preventing future psychopathological problems is mandatory.


KEY WORDS: Sars-Cov-2; Psychological distress; Children and adolescents; Drawings; E-survey; Traumatic experiences

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