Social connectedness and emotional health during the Covid-19 pandemic: a population-based latent profile analysis examining changes in connectedness and emotional health among adolescents in British Columbia, Canada
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The University of British Columbia, Canada
 
 
Publication date: 2023-04-27
 
 
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A327
 
ABSTRACT
This study examined profiles of social connectedness among early adolescents in grade 7 before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared (Winter 2020), and again in grade 8 during the second Wave of the pandemic (Winter 2021), applying a person-centered approach. Linked data from 1753 early adolescents (49% female) from British Columbia (BC), Canada who completed the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) survey in grade 7 and 8 were used. Elementary and middle schools in the province of BC were open for in-person instruction during the 2021 school year. Students reported on positive (life satisfaction) and negative (depressive symptoms) mental wellbeing indicators and connectedness with peers, and adults at home, school and in the community. Latent Profile Analysis was performed to identify profiles of connectedness for students in grades 7 and 8. Latent Transition Analysis was performed to examine transitions in connectedness profiles from grade 7 to grade 8. Multiple regression analyses examined the associations between profile membership in grade 7 and mental wellbeing in grade 8. Further analysis examined the association between transitions in profile membership between grades 7 and 8 (i.e., increases versus decreases in connectedness over time) and mental wellbeing in grade 8. We found that connectedness in multiple domains in grade 7 was related to significantly higher levels of mental wellbeing in grade 8, controlling for early adolescents’ demographic Background:, wellbeing in grade 7, and COVID-related mental health worries. Wellbeing was highest for those who felt highly connected in all domains and lowest for those who felt consistently lower levels of connection. Profile membership was relatively stable over the two time points. However, for those who transitioned to a different connectedness profile, increases in connectedness were related to improvements in mental wellbeing and decreases were related to a decline in wellbeing over time. 
ISSN:2654-1459