What were the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on primary school-aged children in the Hubei province of China?

Mental Health, Wellness, Psychology, Mind

Bottom Line:

Children in the Hubei province of China experienced negative mental health impacts during the COVID-19 outbreak. Approximately 1 in 5 students reported depressive and anxiety symptoms. Students living in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, were more likely to report depressive symptoms.


Xie, X. et al. (2020). Mental health status among children in home confinement during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in Hubei province, China. JAMA Pediatricshttps://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.1619

Date Published:

24 April 2020


Severe public health measures have been widely implemented in order to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. In the Hubei province of China, these measures included nationwide school closures and movement restrictions to stay at home, which severely altered the routines and social interactions of children. The authors of this study conducted a survey which included 1,109 children with the goal of examining the number of children who self reported symptoms of depression and anxiety. They found that 22.6% of students reported experiencing depressive symptoms, while 18.9% reported anxiety. Students living in the city of Wuhan (within the Hubei province) experienced more severe depressive symptoms (as indicated by higher scores on a test for depression), and were nearly 1.5 times more likely to report depressive symptoms compared to other regions of the Hubei province. This study highlights that children have, and continue to experience psychological distress during the pandemic, and that public health measures will need to address these mental health consequences.

Summary by: Jennifer Gutberg