Published: 2022-08-26

Adolescent well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic in India

Amita N. Vyas, Nitasha C. Nagaraj, Shikha Chandarana, Megan M. Landry


Background:It is without question that gender attitudes/norms, voice and agency, self-efficacy, and locus of control are important determinants of health and well-being, particularly for adolescent girls and boys in low to middle income countries. And, while prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were trends suggesting social inequities would be on the decline, these trends have since reversed due to abrupt long-term school closures as a result of the pandemic. This study examines adolescents’ perceptions of gender norms/attributes, voice/agency, self-efficacy, locus of control, and gender-based violence norms pre-COVID and one year later during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown in India, a country with one of the largest adolescent populations worldwide.

Methods: The data for this study were derived from a larger study via two cross-sectional self-reported survey of adolescents ages 10-15 years old in public schools located in Delhi, India (urban), and Uttar Pradesh, India (rural) pre-COVID and one year later. The adolescent participants were part of local existing after-school programs and interventions implemented by non-profit community organizations, and a convenience sample (n=547) was recruited.

Results: The present study found that positive gender attributes, positive gender norms, GBV norms, voice, and locus of control all worsened between the two time periods-pre-COVID-19 and one year later during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusions: As India looks ahead to rebuilding after the pandemic, it will be imperative that attention is paid to gender perceptions and attitudes, empowerment, and family/gender violence as a result of the short and longer impact of COVID-19.


Gender attributes, Gender norms, Voice, Agency, Adolescents, India

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