Anxiety in Older Adolescents at the Time of COVID-19

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Corona Virus Disease-19 (COVID-19) is a catastrophic health risk, with psychological, emotional, social, and relational implications. From the early stages of the virus spread, the elderly population was identified as the most vulnerable, and health authorities have rightly focused on this frailer population. Conversely, less attention was given to the emotional and psychological dimensions of children and adolescents. Moreover, even though they were the subjects whose lives and health were at low risk, they, nevertheless, had to face a reality full of anxiety, fears, and uncertainties. The current study investigated the state of anxiety and emotional awareness in a sample of healthy older adolescents, 84 females and 64 males, aged 17 to 19, during the pandemic lockdown, using the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale and the Italian Emotion Awareness Questionnaire. An unexpected anxious phenomenology was found, affecting anxiety and the ideo-affective domain, while somatic symptomatology appeared to be less severe. The highest anxiety symptoms were breathing difficulties. These findings supported the hypothesis that the COVID-19 pandemic may be a risk condition for an increased state of anxiety in older adolescents and suggested the need to provide (1) an effective, empathic communication system with direct participation of older adolescents, (2) a psychological counseling service for the stress management of adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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