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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Helpful or harmful? the role of personality traits in student experiences of the COVID-19 crisis and school closure

Kaat Iterbeke; Kristof De Witte

Published: October 2021   Journal: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Little is known about the individual differences in student experiences and expectations of the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting school closures. Yet, as the crisis may have uniquely impacted students, knowledge about their personalities is highly relevant. In a sample of 347 Flemish students, this study explored the association between personality traits and differences in responses to the crisis. The Big Five personality traits of students were assessed in January 2020, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Students were reassessed in June 2020 with a set of items related to well-being, remote learning, and family and social life. The results suggested that more conscientious students (showing a better perception of remote learning) and more open students (considering the period as an opportunity to learn new skills) adjusted well to the changes induced by the crisis. On the contrary, students high in neuroticism (showing higher stress levels) were harmed.
Education and digital inequalities during COVID-19 confinement: from the perspective of teachers in the French speaking community of Belgium

Natacha Duroisin; Romain Beauset; Chloé Tanghe

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Journal of Education
To curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government and the federated entities of Belgium suspended all face-to-face learning starting 14 March, 2020. A continuity of learning was to be ensured by teachers through distance-learning. However, teaching during the confinement period was complicated for teachers: the respect for policies and rules differs from one teacher to another and there has been a lack of follow-up on online learning for some learners. The purpose of this article is to contribute to initial responses to the vast question of educational inequalities created and exacerbated during the crisis. More particularly, this article provides a situational analysis of some potential causes for inequalities in primary and secondary schools and identifies differences between the two education levels.
Children's resilience during Covid-19 confinement: a child's perspective–Which general and media coping strategies are useful?

Verolien Cauberghe; Steffi De Jans; Liselot Hudders (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Community Psychology
This study explored how children (9–13 years old) coped with the uncertain situation during the first Covid-19 confinement period (Spring 2020) and whether media helped them handle the situation. Based on a survey among 667 West-European (Belgian) children, we concluded that children used various strategies to cope with the situation. Seeking social support via social media and searching for distraction was applied by most children. Creating a comforting atmosphere was used by many, although not evaluated as an effective strategy. Whereas older children searched for Covid-19-related information, younger children indicated to avoid news media to regulate their emotions. The Covid-19 anxiety of parents in the confinement period impacted upon the general level of concerns of their children. The results offer policy recommendations on how to support children in handling the tensive Covid-19 situation, especially during lockdown periods.
Physically distant, virtually close: Adolescents’ sexting behaviors during a strict lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic

Chelly Maes; Laura Vandenbosch

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
This study contextualizes Belgian adolescents' (12–18 years old) sexting behaviors between romantic and non-romantic partners during a strict lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. An online survey among 543 Belgian respondents (Mage = 15.29, 68% girls) showed that 40.9% of the adolescents engaged in at least one type of sexting (i.e., type one = textual, type two = visual content with underwear/swimwear, type three = visual depiction of private parts, type four = visual depiction of sexual acts). Arousal needs were the most common reasons to sext (M = 3.33, SD = 1.89). Generalized ordered logit analyses show that higher arousal needs were linked to higher frequencies of the first three sexting types. Relational affirmation needs were related to the engagement in sexting type two, whereas partner pressure was related to sexting type three and four. Regarding the latter, a significant link was also found with stress regulation. Conditional relations emerged according to adolescents' sex, developmental status, and relationship status. The current study's findings not only help to inform practitioners in terms of behavioral advice for future pandemics or periods after social isolation, but can also offer explanations for (changes in) adolescents' sexting behaviors after the pandemic and the possible dual nature of its effects.
Age-dependent seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in school-aged children from areas with low and high community transmission

Lise Boey; Mathieu Roelants; Joanna Merckx (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: European Journal of Pediatrics
It is not yet clear to what extent SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in children reflect community transmission, nor whether infection rates differ between primary schoolchildren and young teenagers. A cross-sectional serosurvey compared the SARS-CoV2 attack-rate in a sample of 362 children recruited from September 21 to October 6, 2020, in primary (ages 6–12) or lower secondary school (ages 12–15) in a municipality with low community transmission (Pelt) to a municipality with high community transmission (Alken) in Belgium. Children were equally distributed over grades and regions. Blood samples were tested for the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
The effect of school closures on standardised student test outcomes

Joana Elisa Maldonado; Kristof De Witte

Published: July 2021   Journal: British Educational Research Journal
The school closures owing to the 2020 COVID-19 crisis resulted in a significant disruption of education provision, leading to fears of learning losses and of an increase in educational inequality. This article evaluates the effects of school closures based on standardised tests in the last year of primary school in the Dutch-speaking Flemish region of Belgium.
Parents’ perceived impact of the societal lockdown of COVID-19 on family well-being and on the emotional and behavioral state of Walloon Belgian children aged 4 to 13 years: an exploratory study

C. Stassart; A. Wagener; A.-M. Etienne

Published: June 2021   Journal: Psychologica Belgica
This exploratory study assessed parents’ perceptions of the emotional and behavioral impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on their children. The total sample included 749 children, aged 4 to 13 years old (353 girls, 396 boys); 524 parents took part. The emotional and behavioral changes observed during the societal lockdown, family coexistence, the impact of COVID-19 on family well-being, and the frequency of social contacts before and during this lockdown were investigated.
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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.