Review: The mental health implications for children and adolescents impacted by infectious outbreaks – a systematic review

Emily Berger, Negar Jamshidi, Andrea Reupert, Laura Jobson, Amy Miko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: This systematic review synthesized available research on the psychological implications for children and adolescents who either were directly or indirectly exposed to an infectious outbreak. On this basis, the current paper aims to provide recommendations for future research, practice and policy regarding children during pandemics. Method: A total of 2195 records were retrieved from the PsycINFO, SCOPUS and MEDLINE databases, and three from Google Scholar. Results: Including only those papers that focused on children or adolescent’s mental health in association with respiratory infectious outbreaks, 11 articles were identified. The majority of research utilized qualitative or retrospective hospital record data. Children and adolescents reported fear and anxiety, as well as disruptions to their day to day routines as a result of outbreaks. However, children were also able to demonstrate resilience during outbreaks with the right support. Conclusions: Children’s psychological response to the outbreak appeared to be largely attributed to how their parents, healthcare providers and the media communicated the event. Recommendations for policy, practitioners and researchers concerning the current COVID-19 outbreak concludes the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • adolescents
  • children
  • coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • infectious
  • outbreak
  • Pandemic

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