Increased Screen Time during COVID Lockdowns Fueling Mental Distress in Young Adults

The findings of the study call for an urgent need to boost mental well-being during the distressing pandemic time.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns forced us to remain indoors. Invariably everyone turned to their Smartphone for both professional and personal reasons. This led to a marked increase in screen time.

But if findings of a new study are to be believed, an increase in screen time during the COVID-19 pandemic has been found to boost mental distress levels and anxiety scores, especially in young adults.

The study was conducted on 294 participants aged between 18 and 28 years. While nearly 50 percent of the participants exhibited symptoms of mild to moderate depression, greater than 70 percent were found to display symptoms ranging from mild to severe depression. An equally alarming percentage of participants experienced mild to severe anxiety with almost 30 percent meet the DSM-IV-TR criteria set for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The findings of the study were presented at the World Microbe Forum meeting.  Michelle Wiciak, presenting author and M.D. candidate at Saint James School of Medicine said, “This study highlights that the pandemic did not simply affect people physically, but emotionally and mentally, with various groups being impacted to a greater extent than others. It reiterates that there is an increased need for mental health support during disastrous times.”