Common psychosocial health problems (PHPs) have become more prevalent among adolescents globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the psychosocial health of school-going adolescents has remained unexplored in Bangladesh due to limited research during the pandemic. The present study aimed to estimate the prevalence of PHPs (i.e., depression and anxiety) and assess associated lifestyle and behavioral factors among school-going adolescents in Bangladesh during the COVID-19 pandemic.


A nationwide cross-sectional survey was conducted among 3,571 school-going adolescents (male: 57.4%, mean age: 14.9±1.8 years; age range: 10–19 years) covering all divisions, including 63 districts in Bangladesh. A semi-structured e-questionnaire, including informed consent and questions related to socio-demographics, lifestyle, academics, pandemic and PHPs, was used to collect data between May and July 2021.


The prevalence of moderate to severe depression and anxiety were 37.3% and 21.7%, respectively, ranging from 24.7% in the Sylhet Division to 47.5% in the Rajshahi Division for depression, and from 13.4% in the Sylhet Division to 30.3% in the Rajshahi Division for anxiety. Depression and anxiety were associated with older age, reports of poor teacher cooperation in online classes, worries due to academic delays, parental comparison of academic performance with other classmates, difficulties coping with quarantine situations, changes in eating habits, weight gain, physical inactivity and having experienced cyberbullying. Moreover, being female was associated with higher odds of depression.


Adolescent psychosocial problems represent a public health problem. The findings suggest a need for generating improved empirically supported school-based psychosocial support programs involving parents and teachers to ensure the well-being of adolescents in Bangladesh. School-based prevention of psychosocial problems that promote environmental and policy changes related to lifestyle practices and active living should be developed, tested, and implemented.


: © 2023 Koly et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite as

Koly, K., Islam, M., Potenza, M., Mahumud, R., Islam, M., Uddin, M., Sarwar, M., Begum, F. & Reidpath, D. 2023, 'Psychosocial health of school-going adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from a nationwide survey in Bangladesh', PLoS ONE, 18(3), article no: e0283374. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0283374

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Last updated: 29 March 2023
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