Weathering adversity: toward mitigating the impact of prolonged school closure and social isolation on mental health and lifestyle behaviours of elementary school children

  • Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Total publications:5 publications

Grant number: 172685

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    Canada, Americas
  • Lead Research Institution

    University of Alberta
  • Research Category

    Policies for public health, disease control & community resilience

  • Research Subcategory

    Approaches to public health interventions

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group

    Adolescent (13 years to 17 years)Children (1 year to 12 years)

  • Vulnerable Population

    Vulnerable populations unspecified

  • Occupations of Interest



In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the world, leading to drastic measures to limit the spread of the virus. These measures included closure of schools and orders to stay home for many weeks. Although these measures are necessary to prevent the virus from spreading, they also created a lot of hardship, particularly among school-aged children. This research builds on our 12 year partnership with a program called APPLE Schools ( which delivers a very successful intervention to promote healthy living and mental health to vulnerable kids from disadvantaged settings and currently operates in 74 elementary schools in northern Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Northwest Territories. In 2018 we collected data on lifestyle behaviours and mental health in 16 schools from northern communities. Together with APPLE Schools, we propose research that collects information on children's mental health (mood, feelings, self-esteem), sleep, diet, physical activity, screen time and how these things may have changed after COVID-19 school closures. We will also ask questions about health-related school programming to find out what worked and what did not. This will help us understand what we can do to improve student supports offered by schools. As we are anticipating repeat school closures to contain COVID-19 and other outbreaks, the knowledge from this study has direct links to the re-opening efforts. The findings can be implemented immediately in schools across Canada and beyond.

Publicationslinked via Europe PMC

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on inequalities in lifestyle behaviours and mental health and wellbeing of elementary school children in northern Canada.

"It's Very Stressful for Children": Elementary School-Aged Children's Psychological Wellbeing during COVID-19 in Canada.

Perceived changes in lifestyle behaviours and in mental health and wellbeing of elementary school children during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Canada.

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