Effectiveness of Online and Remote Interventions for Mental Health in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults After the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Publication date: Feb 05, 2024

The prevalence of mental illness increased in children, adolescents, and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time, access to treatment facilities has been restricted, resulting in a need for the quick implementation of remote or online interventions. This study aimed to give an overview of randomized controlled studies examining remote or online interventions for mental health in children, adolescents, and young adults and to explore the overall effectiveness of these interventions regarding different symptoms. A systematic literature search was conducted according to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis) guidelines using PubMed, PsycInfo, Psyndex, Embase, and Google Scholar. A meta-analysis was conducted using a random effects model to calculate overall effect sizes for interventions using standardized mean differences (SMDs) for postintervention scores. We identified 17 articles with 8732 participants in the final sample, and 13 were included in the quantitative analysis. The studies examined different digital interventions for several outcomes, showing better outcomes than the control in some studies. Meta-analyses revealed significant medium overall effects for anxiety (SMD=0. 44, 95% CI 0. 20 to 0. 67) and social functioning (SMD=0. 42, 95% CI -0. 68 to -0. 17) and a large significant effect for depression (SMD=1. 31, 95% CI 0. 34 to 2. 95). In contrast, no significant overall treatment effects for well-being, psychological distress, disordered eating, and COVID-19-related symptoms were found. The qualitative and quantitative analyses of the included studies show promising results regarding the effectiveness of online interventions, especially for symptoms of anxiety and depression and for training of social functioning. However, the effectiveness needs to be further investigated for other groups of symptoms in the future. All in all, more research with high-quality studies is required.

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Concepts Keywords
Anxiety anxiety
Eating COVID-19 pandemic
Future COVID-19 symptoms
Google depression
Therapy e-mental health
eating disorder
psychological distress
social functioning


Type Source Name
disease VO effectiveness
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
disease MESH mental illness
disease VO time
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
disease MESH psychological distress
disease IDO quality
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone
disease IDO intervention
disease MESH eating disorder
disease MESH addictive behavior
disease VO population
disease MESH sleep disorders
disease MESH loneliness
disease MESH domestic violence
drug DRUGBANK Spinosad
drug DRUGBANK Aspartame
drug DRUGBANK Methionine
disease MESH neurodevelopmental disorders
disease VO pregnant women
disease MESH long covid
disease IDO process
disease MESH psychological stress
disease VO Canada
disease MESH Tourette syndrome
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
drug DRUGBANK Brompheniramine
disease VO frequency
disease VO effective
drug DRUGBANK Amlodipine
disease MESH substance abuse
drug DRUGBANK D-Alanine
disease MESH suicidal ideation
disease IDO symptom
drug DRUGBANK Hydrocortisone
disease MESH attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
drug DRUGBANK Ranitidine
drug DRUGBANK Cysteamine
disease MESH anxiety disorder
disease VO viable
disease VO Gap
disease IDO entity
disease MESH major depressive disorder
disease MESH psychosocial functioning
disease MESH lifestyle factors
drug DRUGBANK Isosorbide Mononitrate
drug DRUGBANK Sulfasalazine
disease MESH comorbidity
drug DRUGBANK Diethylstilbestrol
disease MESH infection
disease MESH smartphone addiction
disease MESH systemic sclerosis
disease MESH bulimia nervosa
disease VO Apa
disease VO protocol
pathway REACTOME Reproduction

Original Article

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