How COVID-19 Emotionally Affects Children And Adolescents With ASD

This study aims to analyse the impact of COVID-19 environmental stressors on emotions and behavior in children and adolescents with ASD


Do you know what is ASD?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that involves significant cognitive-behavioral rigidity with an impaired tolerance to changes to routines and the environment.

Description of the Study:

  • Title: EmCoVID19-TEA retrospective and prospective longitudinal study: Impact of COVID19 environmental stressors on emotions and behavior in children and adolescents with ASD.
  • Principal Investigator: Aritz Aranbarri.
  • Co-Investigators: Marcela Mezzatesta, Lali Piera, Noemí Balmaña and María Díez-Juan.
  • Center of Implementation: SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital.

Objectives of the Study:

Principal Objectives:
(1) To analyze the presence of emotional and behavioral problems and the relationship with predictive variables in patients from the SJD Multidisciplinary Autism Spectrum Disorder Unit (UnimTEA) with a diagnosis of ASD in the periods of lockdown and post-lockdown restrictive measures (objective associated with the macroproject-EmCoVID19).
(2) To examine the relationship of predictive variables on the nuclear symptomatology of ASD (i.e. communication, socialization and repetitive behaviors), the frequency and intensity of severe behavioral agitations, changes in pharmacological patterns, and the use of display devices in UnimTEA patients in the different periods of lockdown and post-lockdown restrictive measures.
(3) To describe the primary clinical and therapeutic intervention needs during lockdown and post-lockdown restrictive measures in UnimTEA patients and to collect the satisfaction rates associated with UnimTEA offered care during the periods covered by this study.

More about this Study:

Scientific Context: The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting multiple environmental stressors that may impact the mental health of children and adolescents with ASD.

To the best of our knowledge, there is no longitudinal literature studying the impact of COVID-19 or pandemic-like stressors in the ASD population.

From our recent clinical experience during this pandemic, some patients have suffered tremendous disruptive behaviors associated with the breakdown of their daily routines. Others have had great difficulties returning to life outside the home after a period of confinement within it.

There is therefore a great need to identify and study predictive factors for emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents with ASD due to COVID-19. This could be highly useful in understanding the impact of the current exceptional stress situation and identifying clinical needs in order to serve these patients and their families better.

Sant Joan de Déu: It is a university hospital specializing in the fields of pediatrics, gynecology, and obstetrics, which has a long history of more than 150 years, during which it has undergone many transformations and changes due to the need to adapt both to the social and health conditions of the time and to technological advances and the evolution of health care.

SJD leads this study about the impact of COVID-19 environmental stressors on emotions and behavior in children and adolescents with ASD.

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