Comparing the emotional impact of the UK COVID-19 lockdown in very preterm and full-term born children

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global mental health crisis, especially for those individuals who are vulnerable to stress and anxiety due to pre-existing mental health problems. This study aimed to understand the emotional impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on children who were born very preterm (VPT, Methods: The parents of 32 VPT children (mean age=8.7) and 29 term-born controls (mean age=8.8) who had previously taken part in a study of brain development and psychopathology following VPT birth completed an online modified version of the Coronavirus Health and Impact Survey (CRISIS). The emotional impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the child and the parent, measured by the CRISIS, was studied in relation to pre-existing mental health difficulties, assessed with the parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) evaluated before the CRISIS completion (mean time gap 15 months). T-tests, likelihood ratio F-tests, linear regression models and simple slope analyses were conducted to study the effects of COVID-19-related stressors on children’s and parents’ behavior, relationships and mental health.
Results: There were no significant group differences in pre-existing SDQ internalizing/externalizing symptoms, child’s emotions or parent’s emotions during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, higher pre-existing internalizing symptoms in VPT children were associated with greater lockdown-related emotional problems and worries (simple slope=1.95, pConclusion: VPT children with pre-existing internalizing problems may be more vulnerable to the negative impact of societal and familial stressors. Effective intervention strategies are therefore needed to support this particularly vulnerable group in the context of potentially stressful life changes and adjustments
Original languageEnglish
Journal Frontiers in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2023


  • COVID – 19
  • child mental health
  • very preterm children
  • internalizing symptoms
  • lockdown


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing the emotional impact of the UK COVID-19 lockdown in very preterm and full-term born children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this