Interventions to Ameliorate the Psychosocial Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children-A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Feb 28;18(5):2361. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18052361.


The aim of this study was to identify interventions targeting children and their caregivers to reduce psychosocial problems in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and comparable outbreaks. The review was performed using systematic literature searches in MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO and COVID-19-specific databases, including the CDC COVID-19 Research Database, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Database on COVID-19 Research and the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register,, the EU Clinical Trials Register and the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS) up to 25th September 2020. The search yielded 6657 unique citations. After title/abstract and full text screening, 11 study protocols reporting on trials planned in China, the US, Canada, the UK, and Hungary during the COVID-19 pandemic were included. Four interventions targeted children ≥10 years directly, seven system-based interventions targeted the parents and caregivers of younger children and adolescents. Outcome measures encompassed mainly anxiety and depressive symptoms, different dimensions of stress or psychosocial well-being, and quality of supportive relationships. In conclusion, this systematic review revealed a paucity of studies on psychosocial interventions for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further research should be encouraged in light of the expected demand for child mental health management.

Keywords: COVID-19; child; intervention; mental health; pandemic.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Canada
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • China
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depression
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Mental Health*
  • Pandemics*
  • Parents
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological
  • United Kingdom
  • United States