Youth Psychiatric Hospitalization in Israel during COVID-19: A Multi-Center Study

Chen Dror, Nimrod Hertz-Palmor, Yael Barzilai, Schoen Gila, Bretler Zager Tali, Gizunterman Alex, Lahav Tal, Kritchmann Lupo Maya, Saker Talia, Gothelf Doron, Yuval Bloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the COVID-19 pandemic there have been numerous reports of increases in psychiatric morbidity and a deterioration of status among existing patients. There is little information about how this increase has affected youth and rates of adolescent psychiatric hospitalization. Our study was aimed at examining trends in youth psychiatric hospitalization during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Method: We used medical records to compare trends in hospitalization rates from 2019 to 2020, among psychiatric youth wards from five different centers in Israel. Results: The number of patients that were hospitalized in youth psychiatric wards decreased significantly from 2019 (Mean ± SD=52.2 ± 28.6 per month) to 2020 (M ± SD = 40.8 ± 22.0; unstandardized B = −11.4, 95% CI = −14.4 to −8.3, p < 0.0001). There was a significant decrease in the number of patients that were hospitalized due to internalizing disorders from 2019 (M ± SD = 22.3 ± 9.3 per month) to 2020 (M ± SD = 16.8 ± 7.7; B = −5.5, 95% CI = −8.0 to −3.0, p = 0.0002) and a marginally significant increase in the number of restraints per month (2019: M ± SD = 2.8 ± 6.8, 2020: M ± SD = 9.0 ± 14.5; Z = −1.96, Rosenthal’s r = 0.36, p = 0.07). Conclusions: There was a significant decline in psychiatric hospitalizations during the pandemic, specifically among patients suffering from internalizing disorders. The reasons for this decline, and the future impact these changes had on hospitalizations during the pandemic demand further research. Study limitations: This is a retrospective multicenter study from five medical centers in Israel, therefore generalizability of our findings is limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9870
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2022


FundersFunder number
Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research


    • COVID-19
    • internalizing disorders
    • psychiatric hospitalization
    • restrictive measures


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