Publication Date

Fall 12-10-2023

Document Type

Student Project

First Advisor

Shelleby, Elizabeth

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)


Department of Psychology


The purpose of this research paper is to examine whether young girls were more likely to experience depression and anxiety symptoms than young boys during the COVID-19 pandemic at two time points, in April of 2020 and May of 2020. An additional hypothesis that was examined was whether the presence of siblings in the home moderated the association between gender and depression and anxiety symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. T-tests were used to analyze the mean differences in youth mental health symptoms based on gender. Young girls were found to experience significantly higher anxiety symptoms in May of 2020 than young boys. Although not significant, there was a trend-level difference between young girls’ and young boys’ depression symptoms in April 2020, such that young boys experienced higher depression symptoms than young girls during this period. Linear regression was utilized to examine whether the presence of siblings moderated the association between gender and depression and anxiety symptoms. No significant interactions were found. In future research, studies should focus on later time periods into the pandemic. Additional research examining potential differences by child age and experience of mental health problems would also be informative. Further, the quality of sibling relationships should be considered in future research to examine whether high-quality relationships, as opposed to just presence of siblings alone, may buffer the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic on child mental health.