Life in quarantine as a possible cause of psychological identity crisis in development
The subject of the exposition is the impact and consequences of crises in the environment on the child’s psyche. The topic of this article is the growth and psychosocial development of children in a pandemic with COVID 19, which includes, among other things, life in quarantine.
The introductory part of the article contains data on the modern understandings of disease and health. According to the World Health Organisation, the premise of its action is to achieve the highest possible degree of absence of the disease, with the necessary treatment, that is, the emphasis is placed on prevention. In this part of the article, the World Health Organisation predicts that in the twenty-first century, mental disorders, primarily depression, will break out in a high place in the overall disease prevention. This is more of a reason for the professional public to pay attention to the influence of unfavourable external living conditions on the human psyche.
The presence of the COVID 19 virus in the general population is further elaborated, with emphasis on the specifics of the subpopulation of children. Particular emphasis is placed on the fact that it is about, a previously unknown, strain of a virus from a certain known group of viruses, as well as its undetermined origin in the living environment of the population. Another difficulty from the same is the open question of how to suppress its effect which is a new challenge for scientists. A noteworthy problem is that there is no scientific experience gained so far on this problem for this strain of virus because it is new.
The next part of the article lists the specifics of the child’s psyche that increase sensitivity to life in crises, with emphasis on structural changes in children’s ego under the influence of unfavourable living conditions caused by the crisis in society, and the evolution of this transformation is currently largely unknown to experts. The answer may be given by future scientific research. In the same context, different features of the clinical picture are elaborated, as well as the available possibilities of diagnosis and prognosis of such a mental state.
The article provides recommendations for strengthening the possibility of recognising this new mental disorder, such as:
- assessment of the client’s ability to adapt to changes in life habits that are inevitable in quarantine.
- assessment of the effectiveness of the use of defence mechanisms in an individual client, as a measure of a person’s ability to defend themselves from stressful actions from their immediate environment.
- notice the existence of a latent mental disorder that poses a risk for the development of manifest disease.
- assess the potential of the family and its response to the crisis as a (dis)functional unit, that is to assess whether the living conditions of the child in question are sufficient for the young psyche to resist the changed living conditions brought by quarantine.
The article concludes by stating that at this moment it is not yet possible to make a decisive professional elaboration of these premises and the distinction between the immediate reaction to insufficient life activities caused by quarantined life and the occurrence of permanent mental disorder. This will be possible only after a certain amount of time has passed, as is the case in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder which is a consequence of the action of nosological factors, but to which life in quarantine does not belong. The conclusion is followed by a special appendix in which the conditions of children with special needs and children of divorced parents in quarantined living conditions are elaborated.