The Prevalence of Mental Problems for Chinese Children and Adolescents During COVID-19 in China: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J.B. Chai, H.L. Xu, N. An, P. Zhang, F.Q. Liu, S.S. He, N. Hu, X. Xiao*, Y.H. Cui*, Y. Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused mental problems among the public and medical staff in China, especially for children and adolescents, a vulnerable group that might present with more mental problems. It seems that there is a rapid growth in the mental problems (such as depression or anxiety) of Chinese children and adolescents during the outbreak of COVID-19. Although several studies reported the prevalence of depression or anxiety problems for children and adolescents, the results are different across different age groups and sex groups. Moreover, the sample size of these studies was small. In the present study, we aim to perform a meta-analysis to identify the confirmed prevalence of depression and anxiety problems for Chinese children and adolescents during home confinement. Five databases were searched including PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Google Scholar, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and both inclusion and exclusion criteria were developed. Finally, a total of 12 studies were included in this meta-analysis. The protocol of this systematic review was registered with INPLASY (protocol ID: INPLASY202150032). It found that the pooled prevalence of mental problems was 28% (95% confidence interval, CI: 0.22-0.34), and the depression and anxiety problem for children and adolescents in China was 22% (95% CI: 0.16-0.30) and 25% (95% CI: 0.20-0.32) based on a random effect model, separately. Subgroup analysis was used to identify that there are no differences between different age groups (primary and middle school vs. high school) (p = 0.26). Meta-regression analysis was performed and the results showed that the moderator of boy percentage was a significant factor (p = 0.04). It indicated that there was an increasing number of children and adolescents with mental problems during the home confinement. It suggested that we should pay more attention to this vulnerable population during a public health crisis in the future, especially for the girls groups, and more detailed implements for mental health management were needed and should be prepared.</p>& nbsp;</p>Systematic Review: The protocol of this systematic review was registered with INPLASY. The protocol ID was INPLASY202150032</p>
Original languageEnglish
Article number661796
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2021


  • children and adolescents
  • China
  • COVID-19
  • meta-analysis
  • depression
  • anxiety

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