Children's Expressions of Worry During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sweden.

Sarkadi A, Sahlin Torp L, PĂ©rez-Aronsson A, Warner G

J Pediatr Psychol 46 (8) 939-949 [2021-08-19; online 2021-08-13]

Sweden is an international exception in its public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a higher number of deaths, albeit not pediatric, compared with other Nordic countries. The objective of this study was to investigate what worries children and adolescents living in Sweden expressed in relation to the pandemic. Using an anonymous web-survey, 1,047 children (4-12 years; N = 717) and adolescents (13-18 years; N = 330) responded to five background and four open-ended questions, one of which was: Is there anything that you are worried about when it comes to 'Corona'? The responses were coded using manifest content analysis. Interrater reliability was .95, assessed on the code level. Worry was common (77%); mostly (60%) related to disease or death of elderly relatives, parents, the child him/herself or general worry for the elderly/risk groups. Existential worry (15%) comprised worries about the future, including economy and worries about the world perishing or the contagion becoming uncontrollable. A developmental trajectory was evident in the nature of responses. Adolescents' worries about the future included missing out on their youth and employment. They also worried about society (6%), for example, the future of democracy and the world economy. There was no indication of socioeconomic status or geographic area (urban vs. rural) affecting the presence of worrisome thoughts. Worry about "Corona" was common. Universal preventative mental health intervention is warranted and could be conducted in the school setting. Intervention could be tailored by age, covering discussion on financial aspects with adolescents.

Category: Health

Category: Public Health

Type: Journal article

PubMed 34383921

DOI 10.1093/jpepsy/jsab060

Crossref 10.1093/jpepsy/jsab060

pmc: PMC8376257
pii: 6349212

Publications 9.2.2