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Changes in UK pre-schooler’s mental health symptoms over the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

This longitudinal analysis of Co-SPYCE data examined changes in British pre-schoolers’ mental health between April 2020 and March 2021. Some key findings include:

  • Pre-schoolers’ emotional problems and hyperactivity/inattention symptoms declined from April through Summer 2020 and then increased again during the Autumn and Winter 2020/2021 as lockdowns were re-introduced.
  • Pre-schoolers who attended childcare showed greater decline in symptom severity than those who did not.
  • Older children, compared to younger, showed greater lability of emotion symptom severity.
  • Attending childcare predicted lower symptom severity across all three domains of conduct problems, emotional symptoms, and hyperactivity/inattention, while the opposite pattern was observed for children whose parent had a mental health problem.

The full paper is available to read and download here.