An integrative systematic review was conducted to understand the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent mental health and to identify what contributing risk and protective factors increased or decreased the likelihood that these mental health outcomes were experienced among adolescents, including those from diverse and vulnerable communities. Furthermore, this review examined interventions and coping strategies identified within the literature that were beneficial in mitigating these harmful pandemic-related effects. Methods. Data was collected from five electronic databases and included peer-reviewed, English-language articles published between 2020-present in the United States, comprised of adolescent participants aged 11-19. All studies were required to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent mental health, describe contributing risk and protective factors associated with this impact, and/or provide information regarding interventions and coping skills used to support adolescents during the pandemic. Results. Findings from 49 included studies revealed increased rates of mental health symptoms (65.30%; n = 32) including the following: general mental health, depression, anxiety, negative affect, PTSD/trauma, stress, diminished physical & sexual health/activity, sleep disturbances, externalizing symptoms, substance use, body-image/disordered eating, psychiatric crisis/hospitalization, suicidal ideation/self-harm, interpersonal challenges, and isolation/loneliness. Additionally, 57.14% of articles (n = 28) addressed differential levels of systemic support (e.g., academic/school, caregiver, community, sociocultural impact/political exposure, and peer support), as well as, associated risk and protective factors among impacted adolescents. Lastly, a total of 22 records (44.89%) identified both interventions and coping strategies (e.g., adaptive and maladaptive) used by adolescents to manage their pandemic-related experiences. Conclusions. COVID-19 related adolescent mental health impact was widely recognized among the articles included in this review, indicating elevated symptom rates across multiple diagnostic categories and mental health conditions. Furthermore, levels of systemic support appear to play key roles in increasing or decreasing the likelihood of adolescent mental health impact and should be examined further when considering how to mitigate similar future experiences, especially among vulnerable adolescent communities. Lastly, while certain interventions and coping strategies identified in this review did support adolescents in managing pandemic-related stressors, more research is needed to ascertain the effectiveness of these telehealth adapted strategies and interventions. The strengths of this study include its synthesis of the current literature on the COVID-19 pandemic and specific impact on adolescent mental health, as well as its recommendations to families/caregivers, school administrators/faculty, and governmental officials/policy-makers/stakeholders who have direct exposure to and influence on impacted adolescent communities.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Child mental health; Teenagers--Mental health; COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020---Influence

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Dennis Lowe