The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all in many ways. In the UK, we were formally placed on "lockdown" on the 22nd March, where all citizens were directed to stay home We were no longer allowed to meet anyone from outside our household. Such physical distancing measures sever face-to-face social contacts, and it is likely that these pressures were particularly high in London due to being the epicentre of COVID-19 in the UK.
What are the implications of these measures on adolescents, particularly for young people who really need support?
One group of adolescents who could be severely impacted by physical distancing measures are young mothers. Humans evolved a system of cooperative child-rearing, which means mothers and their children need high levels of support from different people to successfully raise children. Given that adolescence is a key developmental period where social interactions seems to be particularly important, the "double-whammy" of adolescence and motherhood could mean young mothers are particularly hard-hit by physical distancing measures.
In order to investigate the impact of physical distancing measures on adolescent mothers, we are happy to announce the collaboration with Dr Sarah Myers. We are currently running a project to investigate the impact of "lockdown" on social support new mothers receive in London, including young mothers aged 16-24. We will be specifically investigating how lockdown has impacted these young mothers mental health. This is important, as evidence suggests mental health issues seem to be rising among adolescent girls, and young mothers in particular may be at higher risk of postnatal depression, particularly if they experience lack of support.
More information on our study, including how to sign up, is available at:
The project has been reviewed and approved by UCL (UCL Ethics ID 14733/002). It is funded by the UCL Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences Dean’s Strategic Fund and ESRC-AHRC UK-Japan SSH Connections Grant (ES/S013733/1).