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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Parent-for-child mask behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and the United States: an investigation of attitudes, norms, and perceived control using the theory of planned behavior

Adina Coroiu; Chelsea Moran; Brittany L. Lindsay (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports
Face masks continue to be a necessity until a large proportion of the population, including children, receive immunizations for COVID-19. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between parental attitudes and beliefs about masks and parent-for-child mask behavior using the Theory of Planned Behavior. A survey was administered in August 2020 to parents of school-aged children residing in the United States and Canada. Measures included sociodemographic variables for the parent and child, attitudes, norms, perceived control over children’s mask use, intentions and enforcement of mask wearing among children (also titled “parent-for-child mask behavior”).
Social disconnection during COVID-19: the role of attachment, fear of missing out, and smartphone use

Natasha Parent; Kyle Dadgar; Bowen Xiao (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Research on Adolescence:
This mixed-methods study explored adolescents’ (n = 682) feelings of social connection in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and examined potential risk (fear of missing out, problematic smartphone use) and protective (parent/peer attachment, smartphone use) factors to social disconnection. Data were collected from two schools in Canada using an online survey with questionnaires and open-ended questions. Three themes regarding adolescents’ feelings of social connection during the pandemic were identified through thematic content analysis: (1) feeling socially connected, (2) feeling socially disconnected, and (3) feeling socially indifferent. Moreover, regression analysis identified secure peer attachments as a protective factor against social disconnection in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, while fear of missing out was identified as an independent risk factor.
The impact of financial and psychological wellbeing on children’s physical activity and screen-based activities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Louise C. Mâsse; Iyoma Y. Edache; Mark Pitblado (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the public health measures to combat it, have strained the finances of many families. While parents transitioned to working from home, children transitioned to learning virtually, limiting their organized social and physical activities. Families also reduced the frequency and size of gatherings, impacting psychological wellbeing. This study sought to understand the influence of financial wellbeing on children’s physical activity and leisure screen-based activities via mothers’ and children’s psychological wellbeing. In May and June of 2020, 254 Grade 7 Canadian children and their mothers completed separate online surveys assessing family financial wellbeing, mothers’ and children’s psychological wellbeing, and children’s physical activity and leisure screen-based activities. Structural equation modelling was used to examine the indirect effects of mothers’ and children’s psychological wellbeing on the relationship between financial wellbeing and children’s physical activity and leisure screen-based activities. Final models were adjusted for potential confounders.
A cross-sectional survey exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cancer care of adolescents and young adults

Kaitlyn Howden; Camille Glidden; Razvan G. Romanescu (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Current Oncology
This study aimed to describe the negative and positive impacts of changes in cancer care delivery due to COVID-19 pandemic for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) in Canada, as well as the correlates of negative impact and their perspectives on optimization of cancer care. It conducted an online, self-administered survey of AYAs with cancer living in Canada between January and February 2021. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with a negative impact on cancer care. Of the 805 participants, 173 (21.5%) experienced a negative impact on their cancer care including delays in diagnostic tests (11.9%), cancer treatment (11.4%), and appointments (11.1%). A prior diagnosis of mental or chronic physical health condition, an annual income of <20,000 CAD, ongoing cancer treatment, and province of residence were independently associated with a negative cancer care impact (p-value < 0.05). The majority (n = 767, 95.2%) stated a positive impact of the changes to cancer care delivery, including the implementation of virtual healthcare visits (n = 601, 74.6%). Pandemic-related changes in cancer care delivery have unfavorably and favorably influenced AYAs with cancer. Interventions to support AYAs who are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of the pandemic, and the thoughtful integration of virtual care into cancer care delivery models is essential.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 28 | Issue: 4 | No. of pages: 13 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: adolescent health, COVID-19 response, health care, health services, lockdown, social distance | Countries: Canada
Experience of autistic children and their families during the pandemic: from distress to coping strategies

Claudine Jacques; Geneviève Saulnier; Agnès Éthier (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
To understand the perspectives and needs of autistic children and their families in the context of an emergency, 109 parents and 56 autistic children (5.75–18 years) from Canada completed an online survey about needs, barriers and facilitators to coping with the pandemic. Parents’ concerns about their child’s development and difficulties managing their child’s behaviors before and during pandemic were significantly associated. Parents identified maintaining social relationships and implementing appropriate interventions to their child’s characteristics as facilitators during the pandemic. Both children and parents identified lack of socialization as a main difficulty. Among children, 92.9% associated electronic devices with their well-being. This study highlighted the need to consider the child’s autistic characteristics and interests to implement emergency accommodations and services.
Pre-pandemic sleep behavior and adolescents’ stress during Covid-19: a prospective longitudinal study

Reut Gruber; Gabrielle Gauthier-Gagne; Denise Voutou (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health volume

This paper aims to prospectively document changes in adolescents’ sleep before versus during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to examine their impact on adolescents’ perceived stress. Sixty-two typically developing adolescents participated in the study before (Time 1: January 15 to March 13, 2020) and during (Time 2: May 15 to June 30, 2020) the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. At Time 1, each participant’s sleep pattern was assessed in the home environment using actigraphy and sleep logs for seven consecutive nights. Adolescents completed a battery of questionnaires in which they reported on their sleep schedule, duration, and quality, as well as their activities at bedtime, their daytime sleepiness, and their social/emotional behavior. The participants’ parents provided demographic information. At Time 2, each participant completed a sleep log, the same battery of questionnaires regarding sleep, and the Perceived Stress Scale.

Pandemic impacts for indigenous children and youth within Canada: an ethical analysis

Carly Heck; Meghan Eaker; Satya Cobos

Published: August 2021   Journal: Young
In response to new and exacerbated challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Indigenous children and youth in Canada have developed innovative and holistic solutions to amplify their voices, continue cultural engagement and combat social isolation for themselves and their communities as a whole. In this analysis, we have selected three Indigenous philosophical tenets as an ethical orientation for discussion of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the well-being of Indigenous young people. The guiding values of interconnected relationships, holism and Indigenous-informed restorative justice help us interpret existing pandemic-specific literature and identify, define and prioritize considerations of child and youth well-being from an Indigenous-centred worldview. This analysis can (a) help inform future pandemic measures affecting Indigenous young people and (b) foster similar considerations for Indigenous communities in other regions of the world.
Prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation and deliberate self-harm in Canadian adolescents during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

Brianna J. Turner; Christina L. Robillard; Megan E. Ames (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry

In light of recent evidence that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in marked increases in depression, anxiety, substance use, and other mental health concerns among Canadian adolescents, this study investigated the rates of self-harm thoughts and behaviours in this population. Specifically, this study explored: (1) the demographic and geographic distributions of suicidal ideation (SI) and deliberate self-harm (DSH), and (2) the associations of mental health and substance use with SI and DSH. A total of 809 Canadian adolescents, aged 12–18 years, completed an online survey between June 17, 2020 and July 31, 2020.

An impact analysis of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in a prospective cohort of Canadian adolescents

Richard E. Bélanger; Karen A. Patte; Scott T. Leatherdale (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent mental health is a global concern; however, most research is cross-sectional or started after the pandemic response began, and thus, unable to evaluate within-individual change. The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate the effect of the initial COVID-19 response on adolescent mental health and ill-health as a natural experiment.
School bullying before and during COVID-19: results from a population-based randomized design

Tracy Vaillancourt; Heather Brittain; Amanda Krygsman (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Aggressive Behavior
This reesearch examined the impact of COVID-19 on bullying prevalence rates in a sample of 6578 Canadian students in Grades 4 to 12. To account for school changes associated with the pandemic, students were randomized at the school level into two conditions: (1) the pre-COVID-19 condition, assessing bullying prevalence rates retrospectively before the pandemic, and (2) the current condition, assessing rates during the pandemic.
Reflections of methodological and ethical challenges in conducting research during COVID-19 involving resettled refugee youth in Canada

Zoha Salam; Elysee Nouvet; Lisa Schwartz

Published: July 2021   Journal: Journal of Medical Ethics
Research involving migrant youth involves navigating and negotiating complex challenges in order to uphold their rights and dignity, but also all while maintaining scientific rigour. COVID-19 has changed the global landscape within many domains and has increasingly highlighted inequities that exist. With restrictions focusing on maintaining physical distancing set in place to curb the spread of the virus, conducting in-person research becomes complicated. This article reflects on the ethical and methodological challenges encountered when conducting qualitative research during the pandemic with Syrian migrant youth who are resettled in Canada. The three areas discussed from the study are recruitment, informed consent and managing the interviews. Special attention to culture as being part of the study’s methodology as an active reflexive process is also highlighted. The goal of this article is to contribute to the growing understanding of complexities of conducting research during COVID-19 with populations which have layered vulnerabilities, such as migrant youth. This article hopes that the reflections may help future researchers in conducting their research during this pandemic by being cognizant of both the ethical and methodological challenges discussed.
Public health preventive measures and child health behaviours during COVID-19: a cohort study

Xuedi Li; Leigh M. Vanderloo; Jonathon L. Maguire (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Canadian Journal of Public Health

The primary objective was to determine the association between public health preventive measures and children’s outdoor time, sleep duration, and screen time during COVID-19. A cohort study using repeated measures of exposures and outcomes was conducted in healthy children (0 to 10 years) through The Applied Research Group for Kids (TARGet Kids!) COVID-19 Study of Children and Families in Toronto, Canada, between April 14 and July 15, 2020. Parents were asked to complete questionnaires about adherence to public health measures and children’s health behaviours.

Intentions of public school teachers in British Columbia, Canada to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

C. Sarai Racey; Robine Donken; Imogen Porter (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Vaccine X
To control the COVID-19 pandemic high vaccine acceptability and uptake will be needed. Teachers represent a priority population to minimize social disruption and ensure continuity in education, which is vital for the well-being and healthy development of youth during the pandemic. The objective of this analysis was to measure public school teachers’ intentions to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia (BC), Canada.
Cite this research | Open access | No. of pages: 7 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: COVID-19, infectious disease, teachers, vaccination, vaccination policies | Countries: Canada
Coping strategies mediate the associations between COVID-19 experiences and mental health outcomes in pregnancy

Jennifer E. Khoury; Leslie Atkinson; Teresa Bennett (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Archives of Women's Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in elevated mental health problems for pregnant women. Effective coping strategies likely reduce the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. This study aimed to (1) understand how COVID-19 stressors are related to different coping strategies and (2) identify whether coping strategies act as mechanisms accounting for the associations between COVID-19 stressful experiences and mental health problems in pregnancy. Participants were 304 pregnant women from Ontario, Canada. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and perceived stress were assessed using validated measures. COVID-related stressors (i.e., financial difficulties, social isolation), subjective negative impact of COVID-19, and coping strategies used in response to COVID-19 were assessed by questionnaires.
Examining the impact of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic period on youth cannabis use: adjusted annual changes between the pre-COVID and initial COVID-lockdown waves of the COMPASS study

Scott T. Leatherdale; Richard E. Bélanger; Rabi Joël Gansaonré (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: BMC Public Health
Given the high rates of cannabis use among Canadian youth and that adolescence is a critical period for cannabis use trajectories, the purpose of this paper was to examine the effect of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic period on youth cannabis use in the context of a natural experiment.
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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.