News Release

Have girls struggled more than boys during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Peer-Reviewed Publication


In a survey-based study of 523 teens in Iceland, girls reported a greater negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being and behavior than boys, and they reported a high level of depressive symptoms.

In the JCPP Advances study, higher depressive symptoms were linked with increased passive social media use and decreased connecting with family members by telephone or social media among girls, and decreased sleeping and increased online gaming among boys.

Contributors to poor mental health included concerns about others contracting COVID-19, changes in daily and school routines, and not seeing friends in person.

“The findings suggest that healthcare providers, teachers, and other professionals need to especially monitor depressive symptoms and well-being of girls during COVID-19 and in its aftermath,” said lead author Thorhildur Halldorsdottir, PhD, clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Reykjavik University.

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