PARENTS have been warned that their teenagers could be suffering from long-term side effects following the Covid pandemic.
New data shows that youngsters who experienced the global health emergency are more prone to stress.
Researchers at Florida State University College of Medicine in the US say the pandemic has changed how we think, feel and behave.
Writing in PLOS One, they said younger adults have become 'more neurotic', less cooperative and more prone to stress.
The changes they identified in personality, they said, had been equivalent to how a person would usually change over a ten year period of time.
"Younger adults became moodier and more prone to stress, less cooperative and trusting, and less restrained and responsible.
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"There was limited personality change early in the pandemic but striking changes starting in 2021," the authors said.
Data from the UK government previously found that pre-pandemic, young people had lower levels of emotional difficulties and stress.
While younger people had milder infections, many worried about not being able to make exams due to contracting the bug.
At the start of the pandemic, 91 per cent of young people said there were strictly adhering to lockdowns.
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Experts said they were anxious about future prospects and their careers.
Medics in Florida looked at data from 7,109 people from the ages of 18 to 109.
They undertook over 18,000 different personality assessments and compared different traits such as agreeableness and conscientiousness.
Experts then looked at how these differed between May 2014 to Feb 2020, before Covid, the early part of the pandemic, and the last part of the pandemic, the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.
While a major change was seen in younger adults, older people showed no significant difference.
The authors concluded that if these changes last, then population-wide stressful events could bend the trajectory of personal development – especially in young people.
Covid has previously been linked to depression and other issues such as brain fog.
The current strain, Omicron, is however, milder than those that came before it and high vaccine rates have meant Brits are learning to live with the illness.
The study from experts in Florida comes as medics in the UK revealed this winter's wave might not be as bad as first thought – despite a rise in cases.
According to the ZOE Health Study, there are currently 176,090 new infections each day.
This is an increase of 72 per cent from 102,457 reported a month ago.
'COULD BE HIGHER'
Professor Tim Spector, Scientific Co-Founder of ZOE said we are now seeing an autumn wave of the bug – combined with an increase in hospital admissions.
"We are already at rates last seen in the June wave. With rates on the rise, especially in the vulnerable elderly age groups, the impact on hospitalisations could be higher.
"However, the youngest age group are showing possible early signs of case numbers slowing.
"Children tend to be a leader of infection trends, so if this continues next week it is possible that the Covid wave might not be as bad as previously predicted."
He did however, say that Brits could be hit with a 'combination' of viruses.
"With the increase in colds and rhinovirus, as well as Covid-19, and the likelihood of a major seasonal flu epidemic, it’s especially important to keep vulnerable people properly protected.
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"I advise everyone eligible to get the latest autumn Covid-19 booster as well as the flu jab to provide protection from serious illness and hospitalisation, and to avoid poorly ventilated areas without FFP mask protection.
"In addition, maintaining a high quality diet is important to maintain protection against Covid and flu, especially in the elderly," he said.
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