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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Mental health and well-being impacts of COVID-19 on rural paramedics, police, community nurses and child protection workers

Russell Roberts; Alfred Wong; Stacey Jenkins (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Australian Journal of Rural Health

This study aims to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and well-being of rural paramedics, police, community nursing and child protection staff. An online survey was distributed to investigate the sources of stress and support across individual, task and organisational domains. The survey was completed by 1542 paramedics, police, community nurses and child protection workers from all states and territories of Australia. This study describes the data for the 632 rural participants. The main measures of well-being were the Public Health Questionnaire (PHQ9), the Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD7), the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), workplace engagement, intention to quit and COVID-19–related stress.

“Poison” or “protection”? A mixed methods exploration of Australian parents' COVID-19 vaccination intentions

S. Evans; A.KlasabA.Mikocka-Walus Klas; A. Mikocka-Walus (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Psychosomatic Research

The success of COVID-19 vaccination programs relies on community attitudes, yet little is known about parents' views. This study aimed to explore the reasons behind Australian parents' vaccine intentions for themselves and for their children. This mixed methods study relates to Wave 13 (January 2021) of a longitudinal study of Australian parents' experiences during COVID-19 and contained 1094 participants (83% mothers). We used multinomial logistic regression to understand demographic predictors of vaccine intention, and a descriptive template thematic analysis to analyse open-ended questions about parents' reasons for vaccine intentions for themselves and their children.

Constructions of quality: Australian Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services during COVID-19

Melissa Barnes; Gloria Quiñones; Emily Berger

Published: September 2021   Journal: Teachers and Teaching
There is increasing pressure on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings to align their practices and values to that of schools, with the notion that a quality education in ECEC consists of providing care whilst also ensuring strong learning outcomes. This paper employs the constructs of structural and process quality to theorise the perceived disparities between ECEC institutions and schools and between ECEC services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The experiences of 29 Australian ECEC educators provide insight into the differing constructions of quality across ECEC services during the COVID-19 lockdown periods that occurred from May to August 2020 in the state of Victoria.
Increased maternal mental health burden in a representative longitudinal community cohort coinciding with COVID-19 lockdown

Amy Loughman; James Hedley; Craig A. Olsson (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Australian Journal of Psychology
Measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted social networks and employment security worldwide. Longitudinal data in representative samples are required to understand the corresponding mental health impacts. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of depressive symptoms in Australian women raising young families during the first Victorian lockdown and to identify risk factors. Participants comprise 347 mothers of children aged 7 (mean age: 32·11 years [4·27]), from the Barwon Infant Study (BIS). Mothers had previously completed Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at child ages zero, two, four. Following the lock down, mothers again completed EPDS along with questions regarding current household and employment demographics. Depressive symptoms were substantially more prevalent in the lockdown sample than at any prior assessment (EPDS10+; 30·6%); and were particularly high in women with previous poor mental health.
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.
Clinical, financial and social impacts of COVID-19 and their associations with mental health for mothers and children experiencing adversity in Australia

Hannah Bryson; Fiona Mensah; Anna Price (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Plos One
Australia has maintained low rates of SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) infection, due to geographic location and strict public health restrictions. However, the financial and social impacts of these restrictions can negatively affect parents’ and children’s mental health. In an existing cohort of mothers recruited for their experience of adversity, this study examined: 1) families’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions in terms of clinical exposure, financial hardship family stress, and family resilience (termed ‘COVID-19 impacts’); and 2) associations between COVID-19 impacts and maternal and child mental health.
Childbearing women’s experiences of the maternity care system in Australia during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic

Linda Sweet; Alyce N. Wilson; Zoe Bradfield (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Women and Birth

Substantial changes occurred in Australian healthcare provision during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the risk of infection transmission. Little is known about the impact of these changes on childbearing women. This study aims to explore and describe childbearing women’s experiences of receiving maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. A qualitative exploratory design using semi-structured interviews was used. Women were recruited through social media and self-nominated to participate in an interview. Maximum variation sampling was used. Twenty-seven interviews were conducted with women from across Australia. Data was analysed thematically.

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic for families of infants involved with Child Protection Services for maltreatment concerns

Alison Fogarty; Andi Jones; Kirsty Evans (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Health and Social Care in the Community
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated physical distancing restrictions have exacerbated social, economic and health disadvantage within our communities. With increases in mental health difficulties and family violence already being seen, there is concern that the risk of child maltreatment risk may also be increased. The current study aimed to explore the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic for families identified to be at risk of child maltreatment in Victoria, Australia. Understanding the experiences of the pandemic for families already at risk is essential in identifying how to best support vulnerable parents and young children during this challenging time. Interviews were conducted with 11 parents currently involved with Child Protection Services, and nine clinicians working within a child and family health services, supporting clients with child protection involvement.
Contact experiences and needs of children of prisoners before and during COVID-19: Findings from an Australian survey

Catherine Flynn; Lorana Bartels; Susan Dennison (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Child & Family Social Work
Most of the research examining children visiting a parent in prison indicates that visits have a positive impact on children's well-being, their connection to the imprisoned parent and the parent themselves. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a significant change to prison visits worldwide, with limits or bans on face-to-face contact. Understanding the experiences and needs of children during this period remains limited. This paper presents the findings of a survey of 84 carers of 184 children across Australia, investigating children's experiences of contact with their imprisoned parent both before and during COVID-19 restrictions.
Child, parent, and family mental health and functioning in Australia during COVID-19: comparison to pre-pandemic data

E. M. Westrupp; C. Bennett; T. Berkowitz (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
The COVID-19 pandemic presents significant risks to population mental health. Despite evidence of detrimental effects for adults, there has been limited examination of the impact of COVID-19 on parents and children specifically. We aim to examine patterns of parent and child (0–18 years) mental health, parent substance use, couple conflict, parenting practices, and family functioning during COVID-19, compared to pre-pandemic data, and to identify families most at risk of poor outcomes according to pre-existing demographic and individual factors, and COVID-19 stressors. Participants were Australian mothers (81%) and fathers aged 18 years and over who were parents of a child 0–18 years (N = 2365). Parents completed an online self-report survey during ‘stage three’ COVID-19 restrictions in April 2020.
Can measures of sleep quality or white matter structural integrity predict level of worry or rumination in adolescents facing stressful situations? Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

Daniel Jamieson; Lee Kannis-Dymand; Denise A. Beaudequin (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescence
COVID-19 has resulted in major life changes to the majority of the world population, particularly adolescents, with social-distancing measures such as home-based schooling likely to impact sleep quality. Increased worry is also likely considering the substantial financial, educational and health concerns accompanying COVID-19. White matter (WM) integrity has been shown to be associated with anxiety and depression symptoms, including worry, as well being closely associated with sleep quality. This study aimed to investigate the associations between pre-COVID sleep quality, WM structural integrity and levels of worry and rumination about COVID.
I’m not managing it; it’s managing me: a qualitative investigation of Australian parents’ and carers’ alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic

Megan Cook; Robyn Dwyer; Sandra Kuntsche (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
The coronavirus pandemic has brought significant changes to people’s lives. Research indicates parents and carers faced particular challenges and were one of the few groups reported in survey data to increase their alcohol consumption during the pandemic. Drawing on interviews with 30 Australian parents and carers of young children, and using a family practices approach, we explore how participants considered their alcohol practices as entangled with, or affected by, their family dynamics and their role as carers during the pandemic. Drinking practices during COVID-19 vary across the sample, with some participants increasing their consumption and others reducing it. Participants' accounts show how drinking was constructed as rewarding, pleasurable, and relaxing, while for others it was associated with guilt and heightened stress.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on quality of life for children and adolescents with food allergy

Gang Chen; Audrey DunnGalvin; Dianne E. Campbell

Published: June 2021   Journal: Clinical & Experimental Allergy

The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has substantially impacted the daily lives of people. The isolation and quarantine measures may also have negatively impacted well-being in individuals with food allergy (FA), who may be more vulnerable in some areas than the general public. For example, food shortages and lock-down policies have required changes in food purchasing habits, potentially limiting food choices; furthermore, it is likely that COVID-19 prevented access to FA-related medical care. The difficulty of allergen avoidance and fear of accidental exposure affects health-related and FA-related quality of life (HRQL/FAQL). The exogenous shock of COVID-19 and resulting social isolation have imposed additional stressors. To date, there is limited published evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on HRQL/FAQL in this population. This study explored to what extent the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the subjective well-being of children and adolescents with FA in Australia.

Australian women's experiences of receiving maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional national survey

Alyce N. Wilson; Linda Sweet; Vidanka Vasilevski (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Birth

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to multiple changes in maternity services worldwide. Systems rapidly adapted to meet public health requirements aimed at preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, including quarantine procedures, travel restrictions, border closures, physical distancing and “stay-at-home” orders. Although these changes have impacted all stakeholders in maternity services, arguably the women at the center of this care have been most affected. This study aimed to explore women's experiences of receiving maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. A national cross-sectional online survey, including fixed choice and open-ended questions, was conducted during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia; pregnant and postnatal women were recruited through social media networks.

Our voices aren’t in lockdown: refugee young people, challenges, and innovation during COVID-19

Jen Couch; Nadine Liddy; James McDougall

Published: May 2021   Journal: Journal of Applied Youth Studies
Using data drawn from consultations and interviews with young people from young people of refugee background in Melbourne, Australia, this study examines how young people negotiate their lives in the context of settlement, specifically during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The authors listened to stories about the challenges they faced, and the initiative and actions they took during the lockdown of nine towers in public housing estates of inner Melbourne during June and July of 2020. This research have found that, despite many pre-existing disadvantages, young people of refugee background have responded to the crisis through public health promotion, volunteering, and innovation.
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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.