Socioeconomic hardship, uncertainty about the future, and adolescent mental wellbeing over a year during the COVID-19 pandemic_Study Information
Study information on the article 'Socioeconomic hardship, uncertainty about the future, and adolescent mental wellbeing over a year during the COVID-19 pandemic'
Abstract | Socioeconomic vulnerabilities put adolescents at risk for mental wellbeing issues, also in times of a pandemic. In the present longitudinal online survey study, we explored changes in mental wellbeing (i.e., mood and life satisfaction) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, we examined how socioeconomic hardship in online home schooling predicted adolescents’ mental wellbeing 1 year later. Third, we tested whether this relation was mediated by feelings of uncertainty about the future. Fourth, we tested whether this relation was moderated (in terms of a protective factor) by self-efficacy. In total, 177 Dutch-speaking adolescents aged 10–18 years (Mage = 15.64, SDage = 1.72, 79% females) participated in all three 6-month separated waves (T1 = May 2020, T2 = November 2020, and T3 = May 2021). Mood results demonstrated that feelings of vigor decreased between T1 and T2, and feelings of tension and depression increased between T1, T2, and T3. Socioeconomic hardship in online home schooling in the early phase of the pandemic was negatively associated with both baseline mental wellbeing and 1 year later. Socioeconomic hardship at T1 predicted higher feelings of future uncertainty at T2, and higher levels of future uncertainty were associated with lower feelings of vigor, and higher feelings of tension and depression at T3. However, we found no evidence for mediation or moderation effects. In conclusion, the present findings illustrate the complexity of disentangling the adverse effects of socioeconomic hardship on adolescent mental wellbeing.