Background: New mutations of COVID-19 and a lack of adequate vaccination necessitate finding certain methods to enhance mental health of adolescents during the pandemic. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy on mental health of adolescents during COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: The present research applied an experimental design with pretest and posttest in 2020. The subjects herein included 65 high-school students, randomly divided into the intervention and control groups. The intervention group received three months of intervention based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy while the control group performed regular daily activities. Depression, anxiety, and stress were measured using standard questionnaires before and after the intervention as well as three months later. Independent t test and ANCOVA were utilized for data analysis.
Results: At the baseline, 58 students (89.2%) had moderate depression, 37 students (56.9%) had severe anxiety, and 45 students (69.2%) had moderate stress. No significant differences were observed between the groups at the baseline (all P>0.05). Following the intervention, 53 students (81.6%) had moderate depression, 37 students (56.9%) had moderate anxiety, and 31 students (47.7%) had moderate stress. These results remained almost the same in the follow-up test. Moreover, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy significantly reduced depression (p <0.001), anxiety (p <0.001), and stress (p <0.001) in the posttest and follow-up compared with those in the control group.
Conclusion: These results highlighted the importance of developing strategies such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for improving mental health of adolescents during COVID-19 pandemic.