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Adolescence, interrupted: A narrative review of the impact of Covid-19 on adolescent wellbeing

Working papers

Written by Joost Vintges, Nicola Jones

The Covid-19 pandemic has had far-reaching impacts across the globe, with divergent experiences across the life course. Although mortality and morbidity effects have been disproportionately felt among older generations, there is growing recognition that adolescents have also faced multidimensional consequences, fueled by closure of schools and recreational spaces, and widespread disruption to services. While much has been written about the educational and health effects of the pandemic on adolescents, less attention has been given to other aspects of their wellbeing.

This working paper therefore summarizes the current evidence on the effects of the pandemic on adolescent wellbeing. We draw on the United Nations (UN) H6+ Technical Working Group on Adolescent Health and Well-being’s conceptualization of adolescent wellbeing (Ross et al., 2020), focusing on three domains: connectedness, positive values and contribution to society; safety and supportive environments; and agency and resilience. Drawing on both peer-reviewed and grey literature from high-, middle- and low-income contexts, we focused our search on adolescents (aged 10-19) and Covid-19 pandemic-related effects on wellbeing in these three domains.

Authors: Erin Oakley, Joost Vintges, Bassam Abu Hamad, Khadija Mitu, Jennifer Seager, Workneh Yadete, Nicola Jones and Sarah Baird