COVID-19 Research Roundup: March 22, 2024


What is new in research on COVID-19?

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science thodonal_AdobeStock

March 2024 marks the fourth anniversary of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Research Roundup, we explore new studies on COVID-19 and its continued impact on various psychiatric disorders and patient populations.

COVID-19 Lockdowns and In-Patient Service Use in Children and Adolescents

This study examined the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on psychiatric admission trends among children and adolescents in England. The analysis revealed a significant decrease in psychiatric hospital admissions for children and adolescents during both lockdown periods, with a higher proportion of admissions being out of area or to independent sector units.

There was also an increase in admissions for more socioeconomically deprived children and adolescents and looked-after children during the second lockdown. The investigators concluded that this “suggests that these [children and adolescents] may have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic or overlooked during earlier phases.”


Tsiachristas A, Holland J, Guo B, et al. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescent mental health in-patient service use in England: interrupted time-series analysis of national patient recordsBJPsych Open. 2024;10(2):e69.

Alcohol Consumption Among Young Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This study investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol consumption among young adults. Findings suggest that harmful alcohol consumption decreased in females but increased in those experiencing heightened feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Surprisingly, increased social interaction and continuation of regular work or study environments were also associated with higher alcohol use. Pre-pandemic symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and delinquency predicted harmful consumption during the pandemic.

“While those who suffered the burden of social isolation and distress were more likely to increase their alcohol use, young adults who felt less lonely and met their friends more often also had a similar outcome,” the investigators concluded. “The relationship between loneliness and alcohol consumption among young adults is influenced by the social factors that may be facilitated by drinking.”


Mohamed MS, Rukh G, Vadlin S, et al. Differential change in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic: the role of loneliness, socialization, and mental well-beingFront Psychiatry. 2024;15:1236410.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patients With Serious Mental Illness

This study investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with serious mental illness (SMI). Findings revealed that patients with SMI exhibited higher levels of pandemic-induced stress, reported increased symptom worsening, and expressed a greater need for mental health care during the pandemic. Despite adhering to precautionary measures, including vaccine uptake, patients with SMI faced significant challenges.

The investigators concluded that, “These findings demonstrate an increased vulnerability to symptom worsening in patients with SMI during a pandemic and suggest the need to account for pandemic-induced psychological stress in clinical trial design, subject selection, and symptoms ratings.”


Fe Garcia-Rada M, Litman RE. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on patients with serious mental illness (SMI) and nonpsychiatric control subjects in clinical trialsInnov Clin Neurosci. 2024;21(1-3):13-18.

Note: This Research Roundup was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT.

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