How Adolescents’ Lives Were Disrupted Over the Course of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Investigation in 12 Cultural Groups in 9 Nations from March 2020 to July 2022

Document Type


Publication Date



It is unclear how much adolescents' lives were disrupted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic or what risk factors predicted such disruption. To answer these questions, 1,080 adolescents in 9 nations were surveyed 5 times from March 2020 to July 2022. Rates of adolescent COVID-19 life disruption were stable and high. Adolescents who, compared to their peers, lived in nations with higher national COVID-19 death rates, lived in nations with less stringent COVID-19 mitigation strategies, had less confidence in their government's response to COVID-19, complied at higher rates with COVID-19 control measures, experienced the death of someone they knew due to COVID-19, or experienced more internalizing, externalizing, and smoking problems reported more life disruption due to COVID-19 during part or all of the pandemic. Additionally, when, compared to their typical levels of functioning, adolescents experienced spikes in national death rates, experienced less stringent COVID-19 mitigation measures, experienced less confidence in government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, complied at higher rates with COVID-19 control measures, experienced more internalizing problems, or smoked more at various periods during the pandemic, they also experienced more COVID-19 life disruption. Collectively, these findings provide new insights that policymakers can use to prevent the disruption of adolescents' lives in future pandemics.