Many teens report emotional and physical abuse from parents during lockdown

New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on adolescent mental health during the coronavirus pandemic suggests th...


New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on adolescent mental health during the coronavirus pandemic suggests that for many teenagers who have been ordered to stay home, home has not always been a safe place.

A national survey of 7,705 secondary school students conducted in the first half of 2021 built on previous findings of high levels of emotional distress, with 44.2% describing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness that prevented them from participating in normal activities, and 9% reporting an attempt of suicide.

It also found high rates of reported abuse, with 55.1% of teens surveyed saying they had experienced emotional abuse from a parent or other adult in their home in the past year, and 11.3% claiming to have suffered physical abuse.

In the survey, emotional abuse was defined as swearing, insulting or belittling; physical violence was defined as hitting, punching, kicking or physical injury.

Research conducted before the pandemic, in 2013, showed that self-reports of parental violence were significantly lower, 13.9% of respondents aged 14-17 reported emotional abuse in the past year and 5.5% reported physical abuse.

Violence was just one of the stressors reported by teens at home, according to the new study. Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said a parent or other adult in the household had lost their job, and 24% said they had experienced hunger.

The data underscores the protective role schools can play in the lives of young people, especially those struggling with racism or gender identity, said Kathleen Ethier, who directs the adolescent and school health program at the CDC. .

“Schools provide a way to identify and deal with young people who may be experiencing violence at home,” she said, calling the reported increase in physical violence “beyond disturbing” and the increase in suicidal behavior “extremely significant”.

“These data really confirm that we are in a serious crisis in terms of mental health among young people, especially among students and students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual,” she said.

Researchers and clinicians have been alarmed by a sharp decline in the mental health of young people during the pandemic, described as “devastating” in a rare public notice from the american surgeon general in December.

After much of the country was locked down, ER visits for suicide attempts increased by 51% for teenage girls in early 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Surgeon General’s report. The figure increased by 4 percent for boys. A CDC report released in February found that ED visits by teenage girls linked to eating disorders had doubled during the pandemic.

Research published this week from the CDC’s Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey adds to these findings.

More than one in three high school students suffered from poor mental health, with 44.2% reporting lingering feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Nearly 20% said they had considered suicide and 9% said they had attempted suicide in the past year.

“It’s extremely important,” said Dr. Ethier. “That means a significant portion of our young people are telling us they don’t want to live right now.”

The increase in suicidal behavior during lockdown is particularly pronounced among young women and college students who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Researchers are concerned “that these young people are separated from school and are at home with families who may not be supportive of their sexual identity, sexual orientation or gender identity,” Dr. Ethier said.

Dr Moira Szilagyi, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Abuse Case Specialist, said teens benefit from having access to the extensive network of adults present at the school.

“It exposes you to a whole different group of adults and peers,” she said. “There’s a sea of ​​people out there, and among them — your teacher, your coach, the school administration — there are caring adults that young people can look up to and identify when a young person is wrong. good.

CDC data showed that mental health was better among students who described a strong sense of “connectedness” or closeness to people at school, even when attending school remotely.

Previous research has shown that children who were unable to complete their homework during the pandemic lockdown also reported higher levels of anxiety and depression.

A longitudinal study of 168 children aged 5 to 11 who are patients at Boston Medical Center found a sharp increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety during the pandemic, from 5% to 18%. Deteriorating mental health was correlated with caregiver depression and increased screen time, as well as inability to complete homework.

The findings underscore that school “is good for kids on many levels,” said Dr. Andrea E. Spencer, a child psychiatrist at Boston Medical Center and one of the paper’s authors.

“Families are hugely important, but often that peer group is not replaceable within the confines of the family home,” Dr Spencer said. “Then you add parental stress to that, and that adds to increased conflict in a home where no one can escape from each other. This recipe is not going anywhere well.

Under normal circumstances, clinicians would “mobilize support for these families and really surround them and provide resources to people at home,” Dr Spencer said. But during times of intense spread, public health conditions have necessitated much more isolation at home, which is “exactly the opposite of what we’re trying to do for kids at risk,” she said. declared.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Many teens report emotional and physical abuse from parents during lockdown
Many teens report emotional and physical abuse from parents during lockdown
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