Gender-Specific Changes in Life Satisfaction After the COVID-19–Related Lockdown in Dutch Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study

Sabine E.I. van der Laan*, Catrin Finkenauer, Virissa C. Lenters, Anne Laura van Harmelen, Cornelis K. van der Ent, Sanne L. Nijhof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purposes of this study were to assess whether mental well-being has changed after introduction of the lockdown measures compared with that before, whether this change differs between boys and girls, and whether this change is associated with COVID-19–related concerns. Methods: This is a two-wave prospective study among Dutch adolescents using data collected up to one year before the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 224) and 5–8 weeks after the first introduction of lockdown measures (n = 158). Mental well-being was assessed by three indicators: life satisfaction, internalizing symptoms, and psychosomatic health. General linear model repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess whether mental well-being has changed and if this differed by sex. Univariate linear regressions were used to assess associations between COVID-19–related concerns and a change in mental well-being. Results: Life satisfaction decreased (η2p = .079, p < .001), but no change in internalizing symptoms was observed (η2p = .014, p = .14), and psychosomatic health increased (η2p = .194, p < .001) after the introduction of lockdown measures. Boys scored significantly better on all mental health indicators compared with girls at baseline and follow-up. However, boys' life satisfaction significantly decreased at the follow-up (η2p = .038, p = .015), whereas girls' life satisfaction did not change. Concerns about COVID-19 were significantly associated with a lower life satisfaction and more internalizing symptoms. Conclusions: Adolescents', especially boys', life satisfaction decreased during the lockdown. They reported no change in internalizing symptoms and an improved psychosomatic health. Adolescents' mental well-being is expected to vary during the COVID-19 pandemic and should continue to be monitored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-745
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
Early online date23 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Adolescents
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Mental well-being


Dive into the research topics of 'Gender-Specific Changes in Life Satisfaction After the COVID-19–Related Lockdown in Dutch Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this