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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Breastfeeding experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom: an exploratory study into maternal opinions and emotional states

Cristina Costantini; Anna Joyce; Yolanda Britez (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Human Lactation

The COVID-19 pandemic has hugely impacted upon people’s psychological and physical wellbeing; however, the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on mothers of young children, with particular regard to breastfeeding, are unknown. This study aims to explore: (1) Sources of advice and support available to breastfeeding mothers during and prior to the COVID-19 lockdown; (2) Mothers’ opinions on statements and recommendations made by the World Health Organization on the importance of breastfeeding and breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic; (3) Maternal emotional states (i.e., anxiety and depression symptoms) experienced by breastfeeding mothers during the COVID-19 lockdown; and (4) influence of breastfeeding duration and number of children on breastfeeding opinions and emotional states.

Home Thrive ScaleTM: case management tool towards preventing family separation and ensuring children thrive in family-based and alternative care options

Audria Choudhury

Published: September 2021   Journal: Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond
Case management can be a complex process where multiple factors must be considered for the safety and well-being of a child in any care option. Miracle Foundation’s proprietary Home Thrive ScaleTM is a strengths-based assessment tool that makes it easier to identify strengths, risks and address areas of support within a family home over time. A home’s safety is measured based on five well-being domains—family and social relations, health and mental health, education, living conditions and household economy—with the child and family’s thoughts at the core. Intervention options are then offered to put assessments into action. The tool serves to both prevent family breakdowns and reintegrate children from institutions back into families (or other family-based or alternative care options). This study provides an overview of the tool, including its purpose, set-up and functionality within a case management system. The use of the tool is illustrated with the COVID-19 situation in India where masses of children were rapidly placed from institutions back into families without preparation.
Functioning of children and adolescents with Down syndrome and the association with environmental barriers and facilitators during the COVID-19 pandemic

Beatriz Helena Brugnaro; Olaf Kraus De Camargo; Carolina Corsi (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Intellectual Disabilities

This study aims to compare functioning and environmental aspects before and during physical distancing (DPD) and to determine which social, physical, behavioral and functioning aspects of DPD are correlated. Sixteen parents of children/adolescents with Down syndrome (11.38 ± 3.00 years) were surveyed before and DPD. Paired t-tests were used to compare functioning and environmental aspects before and DPD and chi-square tests were used to test associations.

The breastfeeding experiences of COVID-19-positive women: a qualitative study in Turkey

Özlem Aşcı; Meltem Demirgöz Bal; Ayla Ergin

Published: September 2021   Journal: Japan Journal of Nursing Science

The aim of the study was to determine the breastfeeding experiences of COVID-19-positive women. This was a qualitative study of 14 women diagnosed with COVID-19. One-to-one telephone interviews were conducted and recorded. The data were analyzed thematically.

Reduced emotional intelligence in children aged 9–10 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown

Katya Martín-Requejo; Sandra Santiago-Ramajo

Published: September 2021   Journal: Mind, Brain, and Education
It is necessary to know the influence of the current pandemic situation on children's emotional intelligence (EI). Therefore, this study aimed to analyze the difference in 34 Spanish children's EI (aged 9–10) caused by the lockdown. EI was measured with the BarOn Emotional Intelligence Inventory (EQ-i:YV). Results have revealed a reduction in EI, specifically on intrapersonal, interpersonal, and adaptability scales (all p < .01). Thus, the study highlights the negative influence of lockdown situation on children's EI and considering the impact this may have at a cognitive, social, or academic level, it would be convenient to promote its development at school.
Children’s daily lives and well-being: findings from the CORONA-CODOMO survey #1

Mayumi Hangai; Aurelie Piedvache; Naomi Sawada (et al.)

Published: September 2021

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed people’s lives dramatically. Few data on the acute effects of the pandemic on children’s daily lives and well-being have been published to date. This study aimed to capture the effects on Japanese children during the first peak of the outbreak. This study was a web-based, anonymous cross-sectional survey targeting Japanese children aged 7–17 years and parents/guardians of children aged 0–17 years. Eligible individuals were invited to the survey from April 30 to May 31, 2020. This self-report questionnaire examined daily life and behaviors, psychological symptoms, well-being, quality of life, and positive parenting or abusive behaviors at the very beginning of the outbreak.

Adrenocortical and psychosocial responses of families in Jordan to the COVID-19 pandemic

Paul D. Hastings; Lindsey C. Partington; Rana Dajani (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Child Development
This study of 52 predominantly lower income Jordanian and Syrian families with young children (31 girls; Mage = 53.37 months, SD = 3.53) in Jordan began in 2019, before the pandemic. Families were followed to explore stress physiology, family functioning, and mental health over the first 9 months of the pandemic. Mothers reported less adaptive coping and more negative changes to family life in June 2020 when their children had poorer behavioral self-regulation and more behavior problems, and when families had lower income, in 2019. More negative changes to family life predicted greater hair cortisol concentrations in children in June 2020, and more negative changes and less adaptive coping predicted worse child and mother psychosocial adjustment in December 2020.
Children’s screen and problematic media use in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lauren Eales; Sarah Gillespie; Reece A. Alstat (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Child Development
This mixed methods study examined parent-reported child screen media use before and during the COVID-19 pandemic by examining 2019–2020 changes in parent perceptions of media, screen media use (SMU), and problematic media use (PMU) in children aged 2–13 years (N = 129; 64 boys, 64 girls, 1 nonbinary; 90.7% White, 4.6% Hispanic/Latino, 0.8% Black, 8.5% multiethnic; primarily middle-to-high income). Quantitative analyses showed a significant SMU and PMU increase (medium effect size). There was a steeper increase in PMU among school-age (older) children. Together, the qualitative and quantitative results suggest that the PMU and SMU increase were influenced by distal, proximal, and maintaining factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning, child behaviors, other children, parental mediation, and positive media reinforcement.
Effectiveness of disseminating school physical activity information on Facebook during a pandemic: a mixed-method analysis

Allison Ross; Jendayi Edmeade; Tyler Prochnow

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of School Health

Social media is an important communication tool during times of crisis because of its vast reach. Understanding the effectiveness of sharing public health guidance and promoting schoolchildren's physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic can inform dissemination best practices. This study classified 418 posts from parent/community members of a school-based physical activity Facebook group by content type, and used concurrent mixed methods to examine (1) differences in dissemination effectiveness (reactions, shares, and comments) between two pandemic phases and (2) themes and sentiments of comments. Phase I included school closures through the release of national school re-entry guidelines (March 1, 2020 – May 15, 2020) and Phase II extended through the school year start (May 16, 2020 – August 1, 2020).

Estimating the impact of the pandemic on children's physical health: a scoping review

Mansoor Rahman A.; Baskaran Chandrasekaran

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of School Health

Children are expected to adhere to the recommended physical activity (PA) dose of 60 minutes per day and minimize sedentary behaviors (SB) to stray away from the cardio-metabolic disease risk. However, there is a lack of review of current evidence pointing to the negative physical health effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, with its barriers and facilitators for effective PA implementation in children aged 3 to 13. Two independent authors conducted an extensive search on five peer-reviewed journal databases for the studies examining changes in PA or SB in children and the potential

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on caregiver mental health and the child caregiving environment in a low-resource, rural context

Helen O. Pitchik; Fahmida Tofail; Fahmida Akter (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Child Development
Early child development has been influenced directly and indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic, and these effects are exacerbated in contexts of poverty. This study estimates effects of the pandemic and subsequent population lockdowns on mental health, caregiving practices, and freedom of movement among female caregivers of children 6–27 months (50% female), in rural Bangladesh. A cohort (N = 517) was assessed before and during the pandemic (May–June, 2019 and July–September, 2020). Caregivers who experienced more food insecurity and financial loss during the pandemic reported larger increases in depressive symptoms (0.26 SD, 95% CI 0.08–0.44; 0.21 SD, 0.04–0.40) compared to less affected caregivers. Stimulating caregiving and freedom of movement results were inconsistent. Increases in depressive symptoms during the pandemic may have consequences for child development.
Health-related physical fitness and activity in homeschool: a systematic review with implications for return to public school

Laura S. Kabiri; Ashley Messineo; Nikhil Gattu (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of School Health

The purpose of this systematic review is to summarize what is known about health-related physical fitness (cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition) and physical activity among homeschool youth. Findings from this study have implications for all American youth as they return to public school from mandated schooling at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Database engines identified over 22,000 articles with 82 abstracts screened for further review. Of these, 18 full-text articles were additionally screened with 10 cross-sectional articles included in the final review. Articles were condensed into a standard review template and findings were summarized by topic.

Children's perspectives and experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and UK public health measures health-related physical fitness and activity in homeschool: a systematic review with implications for return to public school

Jill Thompson; Grace Spencer; Penny Curtis (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Health Expectations

The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on how we live our lives; yet, the implications for children and the effects on children's everyday lives have been relatively underacknowledged. Understanding children's views on COVID-19 and related restrictions on their lives provides an important opportunity to understand how children have responded to the pandemic, including the impacts on their social and emotional well-being. This study explored the experiences and perspectives of children in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions on everyday life. A qualitative study using semistructured online interviews with participatory drawings was undertaken between May and July 2020. Eighteen children from England and Wales, aged 7–11 years, participated in interviews.

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Australian domestic and family violence services and their clients

Kerry Carrington; Christine Morley; Shane Warren (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Australian Journal Of Social Issues
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports emerged that lockdowns were increasing the prevalence of domestic and family violence (DFV) in Australia and across the world. The lockdowns and restrictions were necessary to contain the pandemic. However, leaders in the domestic family violence sector expressed concerns early during 2020 that these lockdowns would lead to the escalation of domestic and family violence. Calling it a shadow pandemic, the United Nations Secretary-General urged all governments to prioritise the prevention of violence against women in their national response plan for COVID-19. To gain some insight into the Australian context, a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Centre for Justice research team conducted a nationwide survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on DFV services and their clients.
COVID-19 and home confinement: a study on fathers, father-child relationships, and child adjustment

Carmen Trumello; Sonia M. Bramanti; Lucia Lombardi (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Child
The purpose of this study was to explore fathers' adjustment and father–child relationships during the first peak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak (April 2020). More particularly, the study analysed paternal perceptions of changes concerning familial economic conditions and children's psychological difficulties (viz., emotional problems and hyperactivity) during the lockdown produced by the current pandemic. Furthermore, it investigated the following correlates of fathers' parenting stress: socio-demographic condition, paternal individual stress, anxiety, depression and changes in the father–child relationship during the outbreak.
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.