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  • Girls more stressed than boys about COVID

    Author: AAP

Teenage girls were more stressed than boys during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and their mental health should be a greater focus if there is a similar outbreak in the future, researchers say.

"Mental health responses during the pandemic should consider this significant gender difference and the effect of gender roles when developing stress management programs," James Cook University neuroscientist Zoltan Sarnyai said.

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Professor Sarnyai and PhD student Riana Marie collaborated with the Canadian Centre for Studies on Human Stress on the research.

"We wanted to see if the absence of a structured school setting, disruption of routine, reduced social interactions and general uncertainty had psychological implications (on adolescents)," Prof Sarnyai said.

The results appear to show there were psychological implications, but girls reported more symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression than boys did.

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They also had more personal concerns and worries, such as whether their parents could lose their jobs or supermarkets could run out of food, than boys did.

Girls had discussions about the virus and followed the news about it more than boys, Prof Sarnyai said.

They also experienced a greater number of symptoms of the virus than boys, and reported those symptoms as more severe.

Girls suffered more stress than boys before the pandemic hit too.

The vulnerable developmental period of adolescence is already associated with the onset of psychiatric disorders, which put teens at greater risk during the pandemic, Prof Sarnyai said.

More than 1300 teenage boys and girls in Australia and Canada were interviewed for the study between April and July 2020.

The Canadians were more concerned about COVID-19 and also discussed the virus more than Australian teenagers.

Australia reported almost 32,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and a further 50 deaths.

LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:

Victoria: 9583 cases, 22 deaths, 514 in hospital with 29 in ICU

NSW: 7412 cases, 11 deaths, 1254 in hospital with 34 in ICU

WA: 7092 cases, six deaths, 275 in hospital with nine in ICU

Queensland: 3790 cases, six deaths, 305 in hospital with three in ICU

SA: 2468 cases, five deaths, 232 in hospital with 10 in ICU

ACT: 729 cases, no deaths, 81 in hospital with one in ICU

Tasmania: 725 cases, no deaths, 42 in hospital with one in ICU

NT: 178 cases, no deaths, 20 in hospital with none in ICU.

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