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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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COVID-19 and educational inequality: How school closures affect low- and high-achieving students

Elisabeth Grewenig; Philipp Lergetporer; Katharina Werner (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Economic Review
In spring 2020, governments around the globe shut down schools to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. This study argues that low-achieving students may be particularly affected by the lack of educator support during school closures. It collects detailed time-use information on students before and during the school closures in a survey of 1099 parents in Germany.
Cybervictimization and well-being among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating roles of emotional self-efficacy and emotion regulation

Fabian Schunk; Franziska Zeh; Gisela Trommsdorff

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Cybervictimization has been linked to adverse psychological consequences but little is known about the mechanisms linking cybervictimization to lower well-being. Two studies examined emotional self-efficacy and distinct emotion regulation strategies as potential mediators in the relationship between cybervictimization and lower well-being among German adolescents during the school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. In Study 1, 107 adolescents (Mage = 15.76) reported their cybervictimization frequency, emotional self-efficacy beliefs, and aspects of well-being (i.e., self-esteem, perceived social support, and subjective well-being during the COVID-19 related school closures). Emotional self-efficacy mediated the link between cybervictimization and all well-being measures. Specifically, cybervictimization was related to lower well-being through lower self-efficacy for managing negative emotions. For further examination, in Study 2, 205 adolescents (Mage = 15.45) were asked to report their cybervictimization experiences, use of specific emotion regulation strategies (rumination, reappraisal, and suppression), and well-being (i.e., self-esteem and life satisfaction).
Age- and weight group-specific weight gain patterns in children and adolescents during the 15 years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mandy Vogel; Mandy Geserick; Ruth Gausche (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Obesity

There is a concern that measures aiming to limit a further spread of COVID-19, e.g., school closures and social distancing, cause an aggravation of the childhood obesity epidemic. Therefore, this study compared BMI trends during the 15 years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assess the change in weight dynamics during the first months of COVID-19, it compared the trends of 3-month change in BMI-SDS (ΔBMI-SDS) and the proportions of children showing a high positive (HPC) or high negative (HNC) weight change between 2005 and 2019 and the respective changes from 2019 (pre-pandemic) to 2020 (after the onset of anti-pandemic measures) in more than 150,000 children (9689 during the pandemic period). The period of 3 months corresponds approximately to the first lockdown period in Germany.

Evidence on resilient initial response to COVID-19 pandemic among youth: findings from the prospective study of mental health in two European countries

Inga Truskauskaite-Kuneviciene; Julia Brailovskaia; Jürgen Margraf (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Emerging Adulthood
The current two-wave longitudinal study aimed to investigate changes in stress, anxiety, depression, and positive mental health (PMH) during the first COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the sample of emerging adults. Data were collected before the COVID-19 and within the first month of the outbreak. The study sample consisted of 775 university students from Lithuania (n = 450, M age(SD age) = 19.45 (0.93), 79.3% female) and Germany (n = 325, M age(SD age) = 23.08 (2.94), 78.2% female). The results of multivariate Latent Change Analysis revealed that Lithuanian and German emerging adults demonstrated a decrease in stress and anxiety at the COVID-19 outbreak. Lithuanians also showed a decrease in depressive symptoms and an increase in PMH. Three groups with different change patterns were identified: resilient (82%) demonstrating positive changes, high-symptom (8%) with stable high rates of stress and depression and stable low rates of PMH, and vulnerable (10%) with an increase in depressive symptoms as well as a decrease in PMH over time.
School teachers’ self-reported fear and risk perception during the COVID-19 pandemic: a nationwide survey in Germany

Stefanie Weinert; Anja Thronicke; Maximilian Hinse (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases peaking and health systems reaching their limits in winter 2020/21, schools remained closed in many countries. This survey was conducted in Germany to better understand teachers’ risk perception. Participants were recruited through various associations and invited to take part in a cross-sectional COVID-19-specific online survey. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed. Factors associated with teachers’ fears of contracting the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) were evaluated with an adjusted multivariable regression analysis. The median age of the 6753 participating teachers was 43 years, and 77% were female. Most teachers worked in high schools (29%) and elementary schools (26%).
Chronic pain in schoolchildren and its association with psychological wellbeing before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lisa-Marie Rau; Susanne Grothus; Ariane Sommer (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health

The current longitudinal observational study aimed to explore how chronic pain among schoolchildren changed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how changes in chronic pain were related to changes in psychological wellbeing and COVID-19-related experiences. Data were collected from N = 777 German schoolchildren (aged 9–17 years) at two assessments before and one assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Participants self-reported chronic pain experience, anxiety, depression, and quality of life across all assessments; and COVID-19-related experiences at the last assessment. Trajectories of anxiety, depression, and quality of life as well as COVID-19-related experiences were analyzed separately for groups of stable chronic pain trajectories compared to chronic pain trajectories that changed during the pandemic.

Pooled RT-qPCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in schools - a cluster randomised trial

Alexander Joachim; Felix Dewald; Isabelle Suárez (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: EClinicalMedicine

The extent to which children and adolescents contribute to SARS-CoV-2 transmission remains not fully understood. Novel high-capacity testing methods may provide real-time epidemiological data in educational settings helping to establish a rational approach to prevent and minimize SARS-CoV-2 transmission. This study investigated whether pooling of samples for SARS-CoV-2 detection by RT-qPCR is a sensitive and feasible high-capacity diagnostic strategy for surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 infections in schools. In this study, students and school staff of 14 educational facilities in Germany were tested sequentially between November 9 and December 23, 2020, two or three times per week for at least three consecutive weeks. Participants were randomized for evaluation of two different age adjusted swab sampling methods (oropharyngeal swabs or buccal swabs compared to saliva swabs using a ‘lolli method’).

Time spent on school-related activities at home during the pandemic: a longitudinal analysis of social group inequality among secondary school students

Sabine Zinn; Michael Bayer (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Substantial educational inequalities have been documented in Germany for decades. This article examines whether educational inequalities among children have increased or remained the same since the school closures of spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its perspective is longitudinal: It compares the amount of time children in secondary schools spent on school-related activities at home before the pandemic, during school closures, and immediately after returning to in-person learning. This study operationalizes family socio-economic status using the highest parental educational attainment. Based on the theoretical assumption that the pandemic affected everyone equally, it formulates a hypothesis of equalization during the first period of school closures.
The impact of Corona pandemic on consumer's food consumption

Adriano Profeta; Shahida Anusha Siddiqui; Sergiy Smetana (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Consumer Protection and Food Safety
The ongoing corona crisis afected many people worldwide by restrictions in their everyday lives. The question arises to what extent the pandemic has accelerated diet trends or general diferences in food consumption between diferent population groups. For this purpose, an online-survey was carried out in order to determine the efects of the corona lockdown on food consumption, shopping behaviour and eating habits in Germany. The aspects of sustainability and health were given special consideration in this study, refecting people choices of healthier and more environmentally conscious foods. This study demonstrates that the corona pandemic has a signifcant impact on consumers’ eating habits. More food was eaten, and more convenience products such as ready-made meals and canned food with a longer shelf life were purchased. The consumption of alcohol and sweets has also increased. In return, there was a reduced consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. The fndings reveal that families who are fnancially afected by the pandemic represent a vulnerable group. With the ongoing pandemic, possible lockdowns, corona-related closings of schools and kindergartens, severe health consequences are expected long term, especially for this population group.
Prevalence and risk factors of violence against women and children during COVID-19, Germany

Cara Ebert; Janina I. Steinert

Institution: World Health Organisation
Published: August 2021   Journal: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
This study aims to assess the prevalence and exacerbating factors of violence against women and children in Germany during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. It conducted a representative online survey with partnered women (18–65 years) between 22 April and 8 May 2020, when participants had been under lockdown for a month. It determined the prevalence of several forms of violence within the previous month using both direct elicitation and a list experiment. It also conducted a multivariable logistic regression to assess the impact of pandemic associated risk factors.
Changes in parents’ home learning activities with their children during the COVID-19 lockdown – The role of parental stress, parents’ self-efficacy and social support

Elisa Oppermann; Franziska Cohen; Katrin Wolf (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
As a result of the abrupt closures of daycare centers in Germany due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents’ ability to provide learning opportunities at home became all the more important. Building on the family stress model, the study investigates how parental stress affected changes in parents’ provision of home learning activities (HLA) during the lockdown, compared to before the lockdown. In addition, the study considers parental self-efficacy and perceived social support as protective factors that may play important roles in disrupting the negative effects of stress. Data stems from a nation-wide survey of 7,837 German parents of children ages 1–6 years, which was conducted in Spring 2020 during the first wave of COVID-19 infections and at a time of strict restrictions in Germany.
Prevalence and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in childcare facilities: a longitudinal study

Luise Haag; Judith Blankenburg; Manja Unrath (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: The Journal of Pediatrics
This study aims to evaluate the role of childcare facilities in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, we conducted a longitudinal study to gain further knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 prevalence, transmission and spread among preschool children, their parents and caretakers. Children between 1 and 6 years of age, their parents and caregivers in 14 childcare facilities in Dresden, Saxony/Germany were invited to participate in the KiTaCoviDD19-study between July 2020 and January 2021. Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was assessed up to 4 times during the study period in all participating adults and personal characteristics as well as epidemiologic information of personal SARS-CoV-2 history were obtained. Samples for stool virus shedding of SARS-CoV-2 were analyzed by PCR every 2-4 weeks in all participating children.
The impact of COVID-19 related lockdown measures on self-reported psychopathology and health-related quality of life in German adolescents

Julian Koenig; Elisabeth Kohls; Markus Moessner (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
The impact of school-closings on adolescents’ mental health and well-being in the management of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is subject to ongoing public debate. Reliable data to inform a balanced discussion are limited. Drawing on a large ongoing multi-site project in Germany, we assessed differences in self-reported psychopathology in a matched convenience-sample of adolescents assessed pre- (November 26, 2018 to March 13, 2020; n = 324) and post the first lockdown (March 18, 2020 to August 29, 2020; n = 324) early 2020 in Germany.
Presentation of a participatory approach to develop preventive measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission in child care

Mathias Diebig; Susan Gritzka; Nico Dragano (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology volume
It can be suspected that work in child care facilities is associated with an elevated exposure risk towards SARS-CoV-2 infections. It is still unclear under which conditions employees in those facilities can safely pursue their work. Preventive workplace-related measures to reduce transmission dynamics in this work environment need to be developed. These measures need to build on a solid scientific foundation and be ready for practical use at the same time. Therefore, the aim of the study is to present a participatory approach to identify, minimize, and eliminate workplace-specific COVID-19 transmission within child care. The approach presented combines quantitative as well as qualitative elements and includes a screening of critical workplace conditions and the development of preventive measures to foster a safe workplace design.
Leisure time sports and exercise activities during the COVID-19 pandemic: a survey of working parents

Michael Mutz; Anne K. Reimers

Published: June 2021   Journal: German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research
Many working parents experienced a double burden of fulltime employment and increased childcare obligations during the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic. This paper explores how this twofold burden affected leisure time sports and exercise (LTSE). Following a gender inequality perspective, it is assumed that the level of LTSE of working mothers are more negatively affected by the pandemic than LTSE levels of working fathers. Using the nation-wide representative SPOVID survey, the paper analyses data of all respondents in fulltime employment (N = 631). Data collection took place in October and November 2020 in collaboration with Forsa, a leading corporation for public opinion polls in Germany.
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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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