Impacts on children and adolescents’ lifestyle, social support and their association with negative impacts of the covid‐19 pandemic

Shimin Zhu, Yanqiong Zhuang, Patrick Ip

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The impacts of the COVID‐19 pandemic on physical and mental health‐related behaviors among children and adolescents are likely to be profound and long‐lasting. This study aimed to investigate the changes in lifestyle and social support and their associations with negative impacts due to the pandemic. A classroom survey using stratified random sampling and structured questionnaire was conducted among Hong Kong primary and secondary school students. The paper‐and‐pen survey, administered by well‐trained research assistants, was completed by 2863 participants aged 9–17 years old (M = 12.6, SD = 1.3) at a brief school reopening six months after the outbreak of the COVID‐19 pandemic. About 48% and 37% of the participants stated that they paid increased attention to physical and mental health, respectively. About 20% to 40% stated that they found more support from their friends and family members; only a small percentage reported decreased social support. Around 25% to 50% spent more time to rest, relax, and exercise. The aforementioned changes varied among genders, education groups, and socio‐economic status. In general, higher perceived vulnerability, feeling more stressed, apprehensive, and helpless were associated with more reported positive lifestyle changes, including more social/family support, increased mental health awareness, and a positive lifestyle. These positive changes serve as important cushions against the negative impacts of COVID‐19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4780
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021


  • Children and adolescents
  • COVID‐19
  • Lifestyle
  • Mental health
  • School closure
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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