The Effect of Social Isolation on Adolescents During COVID-19

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2021-04

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Abstract

My initial hypothesis was that adolescents may carry into adulthood the potential residual effects of social isolation on behavioral changes. To draw a holistic picture of the situation at hand, I went on a quest through different disciplines to test my hypothesis's credibility. First, I examined historical events by following adolescents who lived in similar circumstances. I was looking for helpful trajectories that can be implemented in the current situation to detect any common behavioral patterns. Unable to find a satisfying answer, I have come, through this research, to realize that the question I was asking is complicated and not readily open to historical comparison. By visiting the neurodevelopmental literature, I learned that social isolation could cause a hormonal and neurological imbalance that may shift from a goal-oriented to a habit-like behavior. Equipped with this knowledge, I ventured next into the world of psychology. I aimed to learn from human development theories and to draw a trajectory of the potential long-term damage on the cohort in question. With the abundance of information, I worked on testing and adapting my initial hypothesis. This took me also, inevitably, into issues related to the context where adolescents would normally reside for much of their day: school. I also realized that my interdisciplinary quest was missing a significant factor: social media. I started my research on social media expecting to confirm the negative effect of long hours of exposure to social media, only to be pulled into a complicated, potentially helpful, and useful virtual world that I barely knew. I realized that I could not apply my knowledge as an adult to the age group in question because, practically, many of them are living through the pandemic in a different world: the virtual world.

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Malki, Lana (2021). The Effect of Social Isolation on Adolescents During COVID-19. Capstone project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/24208.


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