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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Children's mental health during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic: burden, risk factors and posttraumatic growth: a mixed-methods parents' perspective

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Wenter; Maximilian Schickl; Kathrin Sevecke (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying containment measures such as physical distancing and school closures led to major changes in children’s everyday lives. By means of a mixed-methods study, the “Tyrolean COVID-19 Children’s Study” investigated the effects of the pandemic and factors influencing mental health and health-related quality of life of North Tyrolean (Austria) and South Tyrolean (Italy) children aged 3–13 years. Parents filled out N = 2,691 online questionnaires (951 preschool children: 3–6 years; 1,740 schoolchildren: 7–13 years) at four measurement time points (March 2020, December 2020, June 2021, December 2021). For both age groups, children’s mental health outcomes (internalising problems, posttraumatic stress symptoms) were worse in December 2021 (t4) than children’s mental health outcomes in March 2020 (t1). With regard to aggressive behaviour, this difference was only found among schoolchildren. Thematic analysis of an open ended, written question revealed the following positive changes in children during the Corona crisis: (1) the importance of intra- and extra-familial relationships, (2) new competences and experiences, (3) values and virtues, (4) use of time, and (5) family strength. Using multilevel modelling, threat experience, economic disruption, and perceived posttraumatic growth were shown to be the strongest predictors of all outcomes. Additionally, male gender was shown to be a predictor of aggressive behaviour. In terms of age, schoolchildren showed more internalising problems, aggressive behaviour, and threat experience than preschool children.
What will the coronavirus do to our kids? Parents in Austria dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their children

AUTHOR(S)
Ulrike Zartler; Vera Dafert; Petra Dirnberger (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Family Research
This study investigates parents' experiences in dealing with the potential negative effects of the pandemic on their offspring, and seeks to explicate (1) how parents have assessed their children's situations during the pandemic; (2) what challenges parents have experienced in accompanying their offspring through the crisis; and (3) what strategies parents have developed for helping their children cope with the effects of the pandemic.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employment situation and financial well-being of families with children in Austria: evidence from the first ten months of the crisis

AUTHOR(S)
Nadia Steiber; Christina Siegert; Stefan Vogtenhuber

Published: April 2022   Journal: JFR : Journal of Family Research

 This study investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employment situation of parents and in turn on the subjective financial well-being of families with children in Austria. The pandemic had strong repercussions on the Austrian labour market. The short-time work (STW) programme covered a third of employees in the first half of 2020 and helped to maintain employment levels. This study provides evidence on how an unprecedented labour market crisis of this sort and in particular the exceptionally wide use of STW had affected the employment situation of parents and the financial well-being of different types of families.

The impact of COVID-19-related mitigation measures on the health and fitness status of primary school children in Austria: a longitudinal study with data from 708 children measured before and during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Gerald Jarnig; Reinhold Kerbl; Mireille N. M. van Poppel

Published: March 2022   Journal: Sports
The COVID-19-related closing of schools and sport facilities resulted in major changes to daily routines worldwide. It was the aim of this study to investigate the impact of COVID-19-related mitigation measures on the health and fitness status of primary school children in Austria. Seven hundred and eight primary school children (7–10 years old) participated in the longitudinal study. Data on height, weight, waist circumference, and fitness were collected before (September 2019) and during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic (June 20, September 20, March 21, June 21).
Acceleration in BMI gain following COVID-19 restrictions: a longitudinal study with 7- to 10-year-old primary school children

AUTHOR(S)
Gerald Jarnig; Johannes Jaunig; Reinhold Kerbl (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Pediatric Obesity

The ramifications of COVID-19 restrictions might accelerate the already rising proportion of children with overweight or obesity. This study aimed to assess the association between COVID-19 restrictions and changes in body mass index (BMI) and the proportion of children with overweight or obesity. Cohort study with baseline measurements in September 2019 (prior to COVID-19 restrictions) and follow-up in June 2020, September 2020, and March 2021 at 12 primary schools in Austria. The height and weight of 738 children aged 7 to 10 years were measured and age- and sex-specific national and international standardized values were calculated. Changes over time were analysed by analysis of variance.

Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 17 | Issue: 3 | No. of pages: 10 | Language: English | Topics: Health, Nutrition | Tags: behavioural change, child health, child nutrition, COVID-19 response, food, lockdown, obesity, physical activity | Countries: Austria
The Impact of Migration Status on Adolescents’ Mental Health during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Christoph Pieh; Rachel Dale; Andrea Jesser (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Healthcare
The purpose of this study was to compare mental health in adolescents with and without migration background after a semester of remote schooling and almost a year of social distancing in Austria. An online survey, supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, was conducted from 3rd February to 28th February 2021 measuring well-being (WHO-5), depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), sleep quality (ISI), stress (PSS-10), and disordered eating (EAT-8). A matched-pairs analysis with and without migration background was conducted and was checked with whole sample analysis. From a total of 3052 participants, N = 508 had a migration background (first or second generation) and N = 479 could be matched according to age, gender, region, and education with adolescents without migration background.
Does the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic have an influence on the mental health and well-being of young people? A cross-sectional multicenter study

AUTHOR(S)
Zeliha Özlü-Erkilic; Oswald D. Kothgassner; Thomas Wenzel (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public
The COVID-19 pandemic has been shown to have impaired the mental health and well-being of young people. This study, for the first time, explores these aspects in young people with and without a migratory background during the extended course of the pandemic and restrictive measures, comparing two countries with a high COVID-19 prevalence: Austria and Turkey. Methods: The authors used the “Psychological General Well-being” index as part of an anonymous online survey with 3665 participants (ages 15–25), recruited from both countries during the first and the second waves of the pandemic, collecting data on individual experiences and problems encountered during the pandemic
Respiratory infections in children during a Covid-19 pandemic winter

AUTHOR(S)
Susanne C. Diesner-Treiber; Peter Voitl; Julian J. M. Voitl (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Pediatrics
The Covid-19 pandemic compelled the implementation of measures to curb the SARS CoV-2 spread, such as social distancing, wearing FFP2 masks, and frequent hand hygiene. One anticipated ramification of these measures was the containment of other pathogens. This prospective, longitudinal study aimed to investigate the spread of 22 common seasonal non-SARS-CoV-2 pathogens, such as RSV and influenza, among children with an acute respiratory infection during a pandemic.
Perinatal and postpartum care during the COVID-19 pandemic: a nationwide cohort study

AUTHOR(S)
Michael Wagner; Veronica Falcone; Sabrina B. Neururer (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Birth

This study aimed to analyze perinatal outcomes and adverse events during the COVID-19 pandemic's first wave to help direct decision making in future waves. This study was an epidemiological cohort study analyzing comprehensive birth registry data among all 80 obstetric departments in Austria. Out of 469 771 records, 468 348 were considered eligible, whereof those with preterm delivery, birthweight <500 g, multiple fetuses, fetal malformations and chromosomal anomalies, intrauterine fetal death, maternal cancer, HIV infection, and/or inter-hospital transfers were excluded. Women who delivered between January and June 2020 were then classified as cases, whereas those who delivered between January and June 2015-2019 were classified as controls. Perinatal outcomes, postpartum hospitalization, and adverse events served as outcome measures.

Education level and COVID-19 vaccination willingness in adolescents

AUTHOR(S)
Elke Humer; Andrea Jesser; Paul L. Plener (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Vaccination is essential to control the COVID-19 pandemic. High vaccination willingness is a key for successful vaccination programs. This study assessed attitudes toward vaccination in Austrian adolescents and determined whether there are differences in vaccination readiness regarding education status, gender and migration background. Two cross-sectional online surveys were conducted from March to July 2021 in apprentices and high school students. Willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccination was rated on a 5-point scale. In total, n = 2006 (n = 1442 apprentices and n = 564 high school students) completed the survey. Willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccination was higher in students compared to apprentices (p < 0.001). Furthermore, migration background (p = 0.023) and female gender (p = 0.001) were associated with lower vaccination willingness. In conclusion, more efforts are required to improve confidence and willingness to vaccinate adolescents with lower educational levels, those with migrant backgrounds and females.
Association of COVID-19 mitigation measures with changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and body mass index among children aged 7 to 10 years in Austria

AUTHOR(S)
Gerald Jarnig; Johannes Jaunig; Mireille N. M. van Poppel (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: JAMA Network Open

Were COVID-19 mitigation measures associated with changes in cardiorespiratory fitness measures and body mass index among primary schoolchildren in Austria? In this cohort study of 764 primary schoolchildren aged 7 to 10 years, COVID-19 mitigation measures were associated with substantial reductions in cardiorespiratory fitness measures and increases in body mass index SD scores and the proportion of children with overweight or obesity. The findings suggest that collaborative efforts are needed to improve children’s health and fitness to prevent long-term negative health outcomes.

Stress levels in high-school students after a semester of home-schooling

AUTHOR(S)
Christoph Pieh; Rachel Dale; Paul L. Plener (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
There has been an increase in stress in adolescents since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing and home-schooling are just two of many stress factors for this age group. The aim of this study was to assess stress in high-school students after a semester of home-schooling. A cross-sectional online survey (February 3rd to 28th 2021) was performed, measuring stress with the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) in Austria.
Prevalence of RT-qPCR-detected SARS-CoV-2 infection at schools: first results from the Austrian School-SARS-CoV-2 prospective cohort study

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Willeit; Robert Krause; Bernd Lamprecht

Published: March 2021   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Europe Log inRegister RESEAR
The role of schools in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is much debated. We aimed to quantify reliably the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infections at schools detected with reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-qPCR). This nationwide prospective cohort study monitors a representative sample of pupils (grade 1–8) and teachers at Austrian schools throughout the school year 2020/2021. It repeatedly tested participants for SARS-CoV-2 infection using a gargling solution and RT-qPCR and herein reported on the first two rounds of examinations.
Cite this research | Open access | No. of pages: 9 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: COVID-19, disease transmission, infectious disease, school attendance | Countries: Austria
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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.