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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on risk of burn-out syndrome and recovery need among secondary school teachers in Flanders: a prospective study

Hannah De Laet; Yanni Verhavert; Kristine De Martelaer (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools were closed, teachers had to teach from home and after a while, they had to return to the classroom while the pandemic was still on-going. Even before the pandemic, teachers were already more at risk for burn-out syndrome compared to the general population. Furthermore, not much research pertaining to this population has been carried out during the pandemic and so the impact of the pandemic on teachers' risk of burn-out syndrome and recovery need remains unclear. The aim of the current study was to fill this knowledge gap and map out the impact on risk of burn-out syndrome and recovery need at different time points during the pandemic. At baseline, 2,167 secondary school teachers in Flanders were included in this prospective study. Questionnaire data were obtained at ten different time points between September 2019 and August 2021.

Child, adolescent, and parent mental health in general population during a year of COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium: a cross-sectional study

Amélyne Wauters; Julien Tiete; Joana Reis (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: Discover Mental Health volume

This study aims to evaluate the mental health status of children, adolescents and their parents during the first year of COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium. Analysis compared results before and during the second national lockdown, which started on November 2nd 2020. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted between May 2020 and April 2021.

Psychosocial well-being of Flemish foster children residing in their foster homes during the COVID-19 lockdown

Camille Verheyden; Frank Van Holen; Delphine West (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Children and Youth Services Review
The measures implemented to contain the COVID-19 pandemic profoundly affected the lives of children and families all around the world, probably affecting children’s psychosocial well-being. The negative consequences of lockdowns are presumed to hit even harder on vulnerable groups such as foster children who already struggle with their psychosocial well-being in normal circumstances and who face specific challenges during lockdowns such as: additional help that is no longer available or only offered digitally and physical contact with birth parents that is forbidden. Nevertheless, some scholars point to the positive side of lockdowns (e.g.: relief due to closure of schools). This study aims to asses the psychosocial well-being of Flemish foster children residing in their foster homes during the COVID-19 lockdown and the factors that are associated with the change in their psychosocial well-being.
Exploring teacher–parent relationships in times of Covid-19: teachers’ expectations and parental home-schooling strategies in a Flemish context

Marloes Hagenaars; Peter A. J. Stevens; Piet van Avermaet (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Teachers and Teaching
Previous research shows that the lockdown of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic increased the already existing inequalities in education but little is known about the processes underlying these outcomes. In this study we used Bourdieu’s theories to explore how interactions between teachers’ expectations of parents and parents’ availability of cultural, social and economic capital could potentially influence educational inequalities in the context of distance education. The analysis is based on 24 qualitative interviews with parents from different social backgrounds, teachers and school coordinators, sampled from an inner-city primary school in Flanders (Belgium).
Distance learning and school-related stress among Belgian adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic

David De Coninck; Koen Matthijs; Wim van Lancker

Published: January 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Education
To improve our understanding of the mental health consequences of the shift to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study examined which factors are associated with increased school-related stress in adolescents. The sample consists of 16,093 adolescents, aged 12 to 18, who were enrolled in secondary education in Flanders, Belgium in May 2020. Stepwise binomial logistic regressions were used to investigate associations between the (online) learning environment, family-, and peer-related factors and increased stress in adolescents, controlling for sociodemographic characteristics.
Adolescents’ use of sexually explicit internet material over the course of 2019–2020 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: a three-wave panel study

Chelly Maes; Laura Vandenbosch (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Archives of Sexual Behavior
Recently, sexual health scholars have expressed concerns regarding adolescents’ use of sexually explicit internet materials (SEIM) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, using latent growth curve modeling, the current study explored adolescents’ changes in the frequency of SEIM use before, during, and after a strict lockdown period was established in Belgium. Attention was given to individual differences (i.e., gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pubertal timing, and sensation seeking). A three-wave panel study over a 15-month period among 522 adolescents was used (Mage = 15.36, SD = 1.51, 67.1% girls).
The impact of school strategies and the home environment on home learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in children with and without developmental disorders

Elke Baten; Fieke Vlaeminck; Marjolein Mués (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Using the Opportunity-Propensity Model (Byrnes in Dev Rev 56:100911, 2020; Byrnes & Miller in Contemp Educ Psychol 32(4);599–629, 2007), the current study investigated which factors helped predicting children’s home learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby examining differences between children with (DD; n = 779) and without (TD; n = 1443) developmental disorders. MANCOVA results indicated more negative experiences for DD children and their parents. SEM-results revealed the alignment between different teachers and autonomous motivation in children as the most important predictors for the outcome variables. Less predictors were significant for DD as compared to TD children which suggests other factors are at play in the DD group. Limitations, strengths and suggestions for future research are being discussed, together with some implications for classroom practices and remote learning approaches.
The role of cognitive appraisals in parental burnout: a preliminary analysis during the COVID-19 quarantine

Aline Woine; Moïra Mikolajczak; James Gross (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Current Psychology
Counter-intuitively, sociodemographic characteristics account for a small proportion of explained variance in parental burnout. The present study conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic asks whether (i) sociodemographic characteristics are more predictive of parental burnout than usual in a situation of lockdown, (ii) situational factors, that is, the specific restrictive living conditions inherent in the context of lockdown, predict parental burnout better than sociodemographic characteristics do, and (iii) the impact of both sociodemographic and situational factors is moderated or mediated by the parents’ subjective perception of the impact that the health crisis has had on their parenting circumstances.
Residential green space is associated with a buffering effect on stress responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in mothers of young children, a prospective study

Stijn Vos; Esmée M. Bijnens; Eleni Renaers (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Environmental research
Green spaces are associated with increased well-being and reduced risk of developing psychiatric disorders. This study aimed to investigate how residential proximity to green spaces was associated with stress response buffering during the COVID-19 pandemic in a prospective cohort of young mothers. It collected information on stress in 766 mothers (mean age: 36.6 years) from the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort at baseline of the study (from 2010 onwards), and during the COVID-19 pandemic (from December 2020 until May 2021). Self-reported stress responses due to the COVID-19 pandemic were the outcome measure. Green space was quantified in several radiuses around the residence based on high-resolution (1 m2) data. Using ordinal logistic regression, the odds of better resistance to reported stress was estimated, while controlling for age, socio-economic status, stress related to care for children, urbanicity, and household change in income during the pandemic.
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.
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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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