JCPP Editorial: Volume 62, Issue 12, December 2021

Senior Editorial Assistant for ACAMH.

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Editorial: Do lockdowns scar? Three putative mechanisms through which COVID-19 mitigation policies could cause long-term harm to young people’s mental health

Edmund Sonuga-Barke, Pasco Fearon


The use of lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 has been unprecedented in its scale, scope and duration despite early predictions that such a measure would have a negative impact on the mental health and well-being of many young people and their families. From a developmental psychopathology perspective both direct and indirect effects of lockdown-related harms to young people’s mental health were predictable: Direct effects, for instance, being due to the negative psychological impact of social isolation and confinement on children; Indirect effects being exerted via negative impacts on family and parent mental health and wellbeing. That these effects would vary from person-to-person was also predicted from this perspective; with vulnerable individuals with pre-existing conditions and those living in high-risk settings being at particular risk. The presumption has been that such negative effects, if they do occur, would be time limited and that everything would return to normal once lockdowns ended. But this is not necessarily the case. In this editorial we ask whether lockdowns could have long-term effects on young people’s mental health and then briefly outline three putative mechanisms through which such long-term effects might occur.

We hope you enjoy the full editorial of this Issue, which is free on the Wiley Online Library.


Prof. Edmund Sonuga Barke
Prof. Edmund Sonuga-Barke

Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke is the Editor in Chief of JCPP, a full profile can be found here.

Dr. Pasco Fearon


Dr. Pasco Fearon is the Deputing Editor in Chief of JCPP, a full profile can be found here.

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