The impact of a lockdown on adolescents

Sharon McCutcheon

The teen years are a formative period for healthy social and emotional development. The Covid-19 pandemic and associated measures such as the intelligent lockdown pose a potential threat. Prof. Dr. Eveline Crone and researchers Suzanne van de Groep, Kayla Green and Sophie Sweijen from Erasmus University and Kiki Zanolie from Leiden University have conducted research to map out the consequences of the lockdown for young people.

Youth behavior and experiences

In their study, the researchers asked questions to a group of young people, aged between 10 and 20 years, about their behavior and experiences during the intelligent lockdown (every weekday from March 30 to April 17). They were already following this group of young people for a longer period of time before the lockdown, which yielded interesting results.

Negative effects

The research shows that, in the short term, the lockdown had some negative consequences for young people which may hinder their socio-emotional development. During the lockdown, young people showed a decrease in empathy (i.e. feeling for others) compared to previous years. They also had fewer opportunities for prosocial actions such as doing something good for someone else or supporting friends.

Positive effects

However, the youngsters also showed resilience in the form of improved mood. During the lockdown, they experienced less tension and more vigor. In addition, young people showed a greater willingness to do good. They showed an increase in perspective or understanding others. In addition, during the lockdown, young people were extra generous to doctors, individuals with Covid-19 and individuals with impaired immune systems.


Read the full study here.

More information

Marjolein Kooistra, media relations ESSB, 06 83676038,

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