Psychiatry Investig.  2021 Feb;18(2):140-146. 10.30773/pi.2020.0372.

Effects of COVID-19 Outbreak on Children’s Mental Health: A Comparative Study with Children Diagnosed and Isolated from Their Parents

  • 1Sakarya Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Institute, Sakarya, Turkey
  • 2University of Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Psychology, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 3Mentalica Consultancy Education and Research Center, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 4Department of Psychology, Istanbul Ticaret University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 5Department of Psychology, Istanbul Gelisim University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Sakarya Yenikent State Hospital, Sakarya, Turkey
  • 7Department of Psychiatry, Sakarya University Medical Faculty, Sakarya, Turkey


The COVID-19 outbreak has negatively affected children in many ways. This study aimed to compare the psychological responses of children exposed to different levels of stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The anxiety levels, negative thoughts, and quality of life of COVID-19-positive children with COVID-19-positive parents (Child+ group, n=17), COVID-19-negative children who are separated from COVID-19-positive parents (Parent+ group, n=59), and a control group (n=64) were compared. The participants completed the Screen for Child Anxiety and Related Disorders (SCARED), Children’s Negative Cognitive Errors Questionnaire (CNCEQ), and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL).
The statistical analysis revealed that the Parent+ group recorded higher SCARED and CNCEQ scores and lower PedsQL scores in comparison with the control group. No statistically significant difference was found between the scores of the Child+ and control groups. Furthermore, high CNCEQ scores and low PedsQL scores in the Parent+ group predicted an increase in their SCARED scores.
Our study indicates that separating children from their parents during the COVID-19 outbreak negatively influences their mental health and increases their anxiety levels.


COVID-19, Child, Anxiety, Negative cognition, Quality of life.
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