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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 58
Childcare, work or worries? What explains the decline in parents' well-being at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany?

Basha Vicari; Gundula Zoch; Ann-Christin Bächmann (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Family Research

This study examines how care arrangements, general and altered working conditions, and worries influenced subjective well-being at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic for working parents in Germany. Prior research suggests several reasons for declines in subjective well-being, particularly for working mothers. This study employs Pearlin's (1989) stress process model to explore the role of parental childcare, altered working conditions and amplified worries of working parents in terms of increased stressors and modified resources to cope with the extraordinary situation.

Rightly blamed the ‘bad guy’? Grandparental childcare and COVID-19

Christina Boll; Till Nikolka

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice
This study explores the link between regular grandparental childcare and SARS-CoV-2 infection rates at the level of German counties. This analysis suggests that a region’s infection rates are shaped by region-, household- and individual-specific parameters. It extensively draws on the latter, exploring the intra- and extra-familial mechanisms fuelling individual contact frequency to test the potential role of regular grandparental childcare in explaining overall infection rates.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 37 | Issue: 1 | No. of pages: 23 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: child health, COVID-19, disease prevention, disease transmission, family environment, infectious disease, pandemic | Countries: Germany
Parental perceived stress and its consequences on early social-emotional child development during COVID-19 pandemic

Julia Dillmann; Özlem Sensoy; Gudrun Schwarzer (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Research
In 2020, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and the resulting highly infectious disease COVID-19 led to restrictions based on the principal of social distancing to curb the spread of the virus among the population and to prevent an overload of health system capacities. These restrictions changed the daily lives of young children and parents dramatically. This German questionnaire study aimed to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the magnitude of stress in parent-child systems and on social-emotional child development. The sample consisted of 90 (39 male, 51 female) children (M = 17.2 months, SD = 9.7 months) aged 7–12 months (n = 38), 13–24 months (n = 31) and 25–38 months (n = 21). Parental stress was measured using the German version of the Parenting Stress Index, namely Eltern-Belastungs-Inventar. Additionally, social-emotional child development was measured using the Social-Emotional Questionnaire of the Bayley-III.
Lifestyle changes, mental health, and health-related quality of life in children aged 6–7 years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Germany

Deborah Kurz; Stefanie Braig; Jon Genuneit (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

The measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are challenging for children and parents, and detrimental effects on child health are suggested especially from lock-down measures and school closings. This study conducted a cross-sectional analysis using a population based longitudinal (birth-) cohort study (SPATZ study) conducted in the South of Germany. Data included all 6 or 7 year old children for whom a questionnaire was completed during first grade of school. Consequently, it was able to analyze children being in first grade before the first lockdown in Germany (≤ 15th March 2020), as well as children being in first grade during the pandemic (> 15th March 2020). It also conducted descriptive statistics and estimated the associations between the two time periods, before and during the pandemic, and various outcomes of child health using multivariable adjusted linear or logistic regression modeling. The analysis was stratified by gender.

The social gradient in COVID-19 vaccination intentions and the role of solidarity beliefs among adolescents

Alexander Patzin; Hans Dietrich

Published: March 2022   Journal: SSM - Population Health

Vaccines against COVID-19 play a prominent role in the policies enacted to combat the pandemic. However, vaccination rates are lowest among adolescents and young adults. Therefore, research on younger individuals is needed to provide a deeper understanding of social disparities and the motives behind vaccination intentions. This study draws on a sample (N = 4079) of German high school students and graduates. Based on cross-sectional data from March to July 2021 and linear regression models, which are conditioned on personality, risk preferences, and trust, the study analyses social disparities (i.e., gender, parental education and migration background) in vaccination intentions.

Wellbeing, coping with homeschooling, and leisure behavior at different COVID-19-related lockdowns: a longitudinal study in 9- to 16-year-old German children

Tanja Poulain; Christof Meigen; Wieland Kiess (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: JCPP Advances

School closures are an effective measure against the spread of Covid-19. However, they pose a major challenge to children, especially to those from socially disadvantaged families. The present study compared the wellbeing, coping with homeschooling, and leisure behavior of children and adolescents at two different periods of school closures in Germany. Wellbeing was also compared with wellbeing before the pandemic. Within the framework of the cohort study LIFE Child, 152 9- to 16-year-old children completed online surveys on wellbeing (KIDSCREEN-27 scales on physical wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, and peer and social support), coping with homeschooling (concentration, motivation, fun, mastering of schoolwork, fear of bad marks), and leisure behavior (TV time, computer gaming time, indoor physical activity) during two COVID-19-related lockdowns in March 2020 (t1) and in January 2021 (t2). Data from both time points were compared using mixed-effect models. Wellbeing was additionally compared with the wellbeing in 2019, before COVID-19 (t0). We also assessed the effects of the socio-economic status (SES) on all outcomes and changes between time points.

Remote learning and its effects on the well-being of primary school learners in Germany

Tobias Schroedler; Drorit Lengyel; Jürgen Budde (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education
This paper presents a study on remote learning of primary school children during the first school closures that were imposed in Germany in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. Data were collected at a primary school covering learners from age 6-12 and include a comprehensive survey amongst parents (n=69) as well as interviews with learners (n=17). Employing a mixed-methods approach, we first analyse the parent-survey’s quantitative dataset. The analyses demonstrate that using modern technology for teaching and for communication between teachers and learners positively impact learners’ motivation and well-being. Multivariate statistics show that teacher-learner contact frequency as well as teaching-learning transparency are predictive towards learner well-being.
COVID-19 infections in day care centres in Germany: social and organisational determinants of infections in children and staff in the second and third wave of the pandemic

Franz Neuberger; Mariana Grgic; Svenja Diefenbacher (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health volume
During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, German early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres organised children’s attendance in different ways, they reduced opening hours, provided emergency support for a few children, or closed completely. Further, protection and hygiene measures like fixed children-staff groups, ventilation and surface disinfection were introduced in ECEC centres. To inform or modify public health measures in ECEC, we investigate the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infections among children and staff in ECEC centres in light of social determinants (i.e. the socioeconomic status of the children) and recommended structural and hygiene measures. We focus on the question if the relevant factors differ between the 2nd (when no variant of concern (VOC) circulated) and the 3rd wave (when VOC B.1.1.7 (Alpha) predominated).
Students’ age and parental level of education influence COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy

Anna Zychlinsky Scharff; Mira Paulsen; Paula Schaefer (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: European Journal of Pediatrics
Widespread vaccination in pursuit of herd immunity has been recognized as the most promising approach to ending the global pandemic of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). The vaccination of children and adolescents has been extensively debated and the first COVID-19 vaccine is now approved in European countries for children aged > 12 years of age. This study investigates vaccination hesitancy in a cohort of German secondary school students. It assessed 903 students between age 9 and 20 in the period between 17 May 2021 and 30 June 2021. 68.3% (n = 617) reported intention to undergo COVID-19 vaccination, while 7% (n = 62) did not want to receive the vaccine and 15% (n = 135) were not yet certain. Age and parental level of education influenced COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Children under the age of 16 as well as students whose parents had lower education levels showed significantly higher vaccine hesitancy.
How children and adolescents perceive their coping with home learning in times of COVID-19: a mixed method approach

Inga Simm; Ursula Winklhofer; Thorsten Naab (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
With the COVID-19 pandemic, children and adolescents confronted a completely new learning situation. Instead of learning in class, they had to cope with home learning to achieve academically. This mixed-method study examines how children and adolescents in Germany perceive their coping success with home learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and how personal, school, family, and peer context factors relate to this self-perceived coping success. Quantitative data from an online survey of n=141 children (mage=10,8y) and n=266 adolescents (mage=15,2y; study 1) were used to analyze the questions with multiple regression analysis. With the qualitative data from 10 interviews with parents and their children (study 2), we examined the process of how school, family, and peer groups interact with students’ way of coping with home learning.
Increase in depression and anxiety disorder diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic in children and adolescents followed in pediatric practices in Germany

Karel Kostev; Kerstin Weber; Steffi Riedel-Heller (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
The coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions impacted the daily lives of children and youth, partly due to the closure of schools and the absence of outdoor activities. The aim of this study was to investigate, quantify, and critically discuss the effect of the pandemic and related restrictions on consultations pertaining to depression and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. This retrospective cross-sectional study was based on medical record data from the Disease Analyzer database (IQVIA) and included all children and adolescents aged 2–17 years with at least one visit to one of 168 German pediatric practices between April 2019 and December 2019 (n = 454,741) or between April 2020 and December 2020 (n = 417,979).
Children and adolescents’ behavioral patterns in response to escalating COVID-19 restriction reveal sex and age differences

Mira Paulsen; Anna Zychlinsky Scharff; Kristof de Cassan (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health

The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic affects students in a myriad of different ways. Our prospective, longitudinal study in a cohort of students in Hannover, Germany explores behavioral patterns during escalating COVID-19 restrictions. 777 students between the age of 9 and 20 were assessed for their activity engagement, travel patterns and self-assessed compliance with protective recommendations at six time points between June 2020 and June 2021 (3564 observations) and were monitored for SARS-CoV-2 infection by nasal swab PCR and serum antibody titers.

Child protection plans in the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany: Maintained, adjusted, or suspended?

Birgit Jentsch; Christine Gerber

Published: November 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

COVID-19 infection prevention measures have enhanced risks of abuse and neglect for children and youth. Simultaneously, they have affected the practice of child protection, especially impacting the social infrastructure on which child protection work tends to rely, as well as the ability of practitioners to meet with family members face-to-face and in their homes. This article focuses on the ways in which infection prevention measures have shaped child protection plans in Germany, i.e. family support and counselling, which is accompanied by monitoring and scrutiny. The article is based on a qualitative study, in which 40 semi-structured interviews were held with first-line management representatives of German Youth Welfare Agencies between July and October 2020.

Effects of COVID-19 lockdown on weight, body composition, and behavior of children, adolescents, and young adults with Prader–Willi syndrome

Andrea Karoline Mohr; Constanze Laemmer; Sandra Schulte (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Clinical Medicine
To reduce transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many countries implemented lockdowns, causing the closure of childcare services. This study was designed to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown in March–April 2020 on children, adolescents, and young adults with Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS) living in Germany. 180 participants with a genetically confirmed PWS were recruited. All families completed a questionnaire, and participants underwent a post-lockdown assessment; the last examination before the lockdown was determined as the pre-lockdown assessment.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 10 | Issue: 20 | No. of pages: 14 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: adolescent health, behavioural change, child health, COVID-19 response, lockdown, obesity, physical activity, social distance | Countries: Germany
Experiences with opt-in, at-home screening for SARS-CoV-2 at a primary school in Germany: an implementation study

Jonas Wachinger; Maximilian Schirmer; Nicole Täuber (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: BMJ Paediatrics Open
 Over the course of the pandemic, many countries have repeatedly closed schools and shifted schoolchildren to remote learning. However, evidence for negative mental and physiological health consequences of such measures for schoolchildren is increasing, highlighting the need for evidence-based recommendations on how to safely reopen schools. This study aims to assess implementation experiences, acceptability and feasibility of opt-in, at-home SARS-CoV-2 screening using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) to facilitate safe face-to-face teaching during a pandemic.
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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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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.