How young people experienced COVID-19 disease containment measures in the Western Cape, South Africa: A qualitative study including the perspectives of young people, their parents, teachers and school counsellors

Bronwyne Coetzee, Hermine Gericke, Suzanne Human, Paul Stallard, Maria Loades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)

Abstract


Background

Little is known about the potential impact of COVID-19 disease containment measures on children's mental health and well-being, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. We sought to explore this amongst young adolescents in South Africa and from the perspectives of multiple key stakeholders.
Methods

We conducted 25 individual semi-structured telephonic interviews with children (n = 7, aged 12–13 years), teachers (n = 8), parents/caregivers (n = 7) and school counsellors (n = 3) from two public primary schools in the Western Cape, South Africa. Interviews were conducted between July and September 2020 and transcribed verbatim. The data were analysed inductively using thematic analysis procures.
Results

We generated three overarching themes: “locked down at home”, “social disconnection” and “back to school.” Children had varying reactions to COVID-19 and lockdown including excitement, frustration, anxiety, boredom and loneliness. Parents were anxious about teaching, and technology did not consistently provide the necessary support. Children felt disconnected from their peers at home, and at school, reconnecting with friends was obstructed by disease containment measures. All participants were concerned about children completing the academic year successfully and worried excessively about the implications of this year on their future.
Conclusion

Young people and their immediate networks, in a low- and middle-income context, described a variety of negative impacts of disease containment measures emotionally, although there was a wide variety of experiences. Children, parents, teachers and counsellors all wanted resources and support and were concerned about the longer-term impacts of disease containment measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-401
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology and Psychotherapy Theory, Research and Practice
Volume95
Issue number2
Early online date13 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • LMICs
  • South Africa
  • adolescents
  • disease containment measures
  • mental health
  • pandemic
  • qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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