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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Family climate in pandemic times: adolescents and mothers

Thomas Eichhorn; Simone Schüller; Hannah Sinja Steinberg (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Social Inclusion
This article examines changes in family climate during the first Covid‐19‐related lockdown in Germany. It compares the perspectives of mothers and adolescents to explore whether the factors of perceived changes in family climate are systematically and significantly different between these groups. It measures family climate as positive emotional climate, a sub‐dimension of the family environment scale, to capture a feeling of cohesion and emotional openness within the family. Based on family system theory and the family stress model, it expects an overall deterioration in family climate due to increased environmental adaptation in the pandemic. Furthermore, it expects family climate to deteriorate less when families have economic and social resources available. On the other hand, it assumes that being employed and/or primarily responsible for family care relates to a stronger decline in the family climate. This study employs longitudinal survey data (AID:A) from around 300 German families with children aged nine to 17 and applys individual fixed effects models to investigate changes in family climate from 2019 to 2020.
Visibility and well-being in school environments: children's reflections on the "New normal" of teaching and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic

Susann Fegter; Miriam Kost

Published: January 2023   Journal: International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice
This paper aims to contribute to the theory on school-related well-being by applying a qualitative approach that focuses on children’s experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic and conceptualizes them as an epistemic opportunity to reconstruct aspects of school-related well-being from children’s perspectives. Within the framework of the multinational qualitative study Children’s Understandings of Well-being (CUWB), it conceptualizes well-being as a cultural construct and argues for including children’s voices in the process of knowledge production. By drawing on statements from online interviews with 11- to 14-year-old children from Berlin, Germany in spring 2021 during school lockdown and by using a discourse analytical approach, the paper outlines the findings on visibility as a central feature of well-being in school environments that children make relevant for experiences of agency, security, and self.
The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic violence in Germany: a comparison of three representative population surveys

Sören Kliem; Alexandra von Thadden; Dirk Baier

Published: January 2023   Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence
The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound societal and economic effects. Concerns were raised that domestic violence might increase because of the enacted infection control measures. Previous findings on this issue have been contradictory. Since existing studies mainly rely on official reports, administrative data, helpline calls, or retrospective measures, their findings are likely to prove unreliable. Few population-based surveys include pre-pandemic data, limiting their ability to test for causality regarding increasing violence. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare findings from population-representative surveys on the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) and violence against children (VAC) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the data of N = 3,639 individuals living with a romantic partner and N = 1,313 parents living with at least one of their children from three German representative population surveys, we estimated average marginal effects for the temporal trends (i.e., pre vs. post infection control measures) of domestic violence separately for males and females. To minimize bias across survey waves, inverse probability weighting was used.
Psychosocial work stress and parent-child bonding during the COVID-19 pandemic: clarifying the role of parental symptoms of depression and aggressiveness

Mirjam I. Koerber; Judith T. Mack; Lara Seefeld (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: BMC Public Health

Parental work stress and impaired mental health seem to have intensified during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Both can have a negative impact on parent-child bonding: psychosocial work stress in the course of a spillover effect from work to family and symptoms of impaired mental health as part of a crossover effect from parent to child. This potentially affects the child’s development in the long term. This cross-sectional study examined the relationship between psychosocial work stress and parent-child bonding during the early COVID-19 pandemic (May–June 2020). Symptoms of depression and aggressiveness were considered as mediators of this relationship. The sample consisted of employees in Eastern Germany (n = 380; 42.9% mothers, 57.1% fathers), aged 24–55 years, with children aged 0–36 months.

Parental COVID‐19–related health information practises, sources, evaluations and needs: a qualitative interview study

Hala Altawil; Ronny Klawunn; Marie-Luise Dierks (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Health Expectations

Parents of infants and young children may have specific health information needs and preferences, as they are responsible for their children's health. COVID-19 posed many challenges for families, not least in terms of the constantly updated disease-prevention guidelines. However, little is known about parents' experiences with this unprecedented situation, that is, how and where they seek, use and evaluate COVID-19 (child)-specific health information. This study aimed to find out more about this to provide insights to health (information) providers when communicating pandemic information to parents. It conducted semistructured telephone interviews (August to October 2020) with a purposively selected sample of 20 German-speaking and 10 Arabic-speaking parents of children up to 4 years old. Recruitment occurred through multiple channels, including childcare institutions and social media. Qualitative content analysis of the interview transcripts illustrates the main differences between the two groups.

Family predictors of physical activity change during the COVID-19 lockdown in preschool children in Germany

Franziska Beck; Stefen C. E. Schmidt; Alexander Woll (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Behavioral Medicine
The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with crucial changes in children’s daily life including their physical activity (PA) and screen time (ST). Among preschool children, the family represents an important factor for sufficient PA levels by being the gatekeeper for PA. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the family environment, specifically SES, parental support, and having siblings on COVID-19-related changes of PA and ST behavior in 317 (170 boys, 147 girls) German preschool children using longitudinal data.
Access to healthcare for children and adolescents with a chronic health condition during the COVID-19 pandemic: first results from the KICK-COVID study in Germany

Julia M. Göldel; Clemens Kamrath; Kirsten Minden (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Children
This study examines the access to healthcare for children and adolescents with three common chronic diseases (type-1 diabetes (T1D), obesity, or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)) within the 4th (Delta), 5th (Omicron), and beginning of the 6th (Omicron) wave (June 2021 until July 2022) of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany in a cross-sectional study using three national patient registries. A paper-and-pencil questionnaire was given to parents of pediatric patients (<21 years) during the routine check-ups. The questionnaire contains self-constructed items assessing the frequency of healthcare appointments and cancellations, remote healthcare, and satisfaction with healthcare. In total, 905 parents participated in the T1D-sample, 175 in the obesity-sample, and 786 in the JIA-sample. In general, satisfaction with healthcare (scale: 0–10; 10 reflecting the highest satisfaction) was quite high (median values: T1D 10, JIA 10, obesity 8.5). The proportion of children and adolescents with canceled appointments was relatively small (T1D 14.1%, JIA 11.1%, obesity 20%), with a median of 1 missed appointment, respectively. Only a few parents (T1D 8.6%; obesity 13.1%; JIA 5%) reported obstacles regarding health services during the pandemic. To conclude, it seems that access to healthcare was largely preserved for children and adolescents with chronic health conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 10 | Issue: 1 | No. of pages: 11 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: care of disabled children, COVID-19 response, diabetes, disabled children, health care, lockdown, obesity, social distance | Countries: Germany
How stressful was the COVID-19 pandemic for residents specializing in family practice?. A study of stressors and psychological well-being of physicians in further training specializing in family practice (GP trainees) within a pandemic context

Anna-Maria von Oltersdorff-Kalettka; Janina Meinel; Karen Voigt (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: BMC Primary Care

The coronavirus pandemic poses many challenges for medical personnel. During the first phase of the pandemic, psychological stress became increasingly apparent. This was a complex and difficult situation, especially for physician residents specializing in family practice (GP trainees), who were not yet able to draw on years of practical experience. In this context, the Kompetenzzentrum Weiterbildung Allgemeinmedizin Sachsen (Competence Center for Continuing Education in General Medicine Saxony) (KWASa) developed a survey on how to deal with the concerns and challenges perceived at the time. The purpose of the study was to obtain information on psychological well-being in the pandemic context, as well as on expectations, fears, and protective measures in everyday work. The aim was to identify stress factors for general practice (GP) trainees during a pandemic situation to be able to consider the support needs in the design of future residency training programs, especially for GP trainees. An online questionnaire was distributed from May 5, 2020 to June 4, 2020 among GP trainees enrolled in KWASa since 2018. The questionnaire consisted of standardized items, which were evaluated descriptively, and open-ended items with free-text answers, which were evaluated according to the principle of qualitative content analysis.

Problematic internet use among adolescents 18 months after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic

Frank W. Paulus; Jens Joas; Ida Gerstner (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Children
Studies in recent years and especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown a significant increase in the problematic use of computer games and social media. Adolescents having difficulties in regulating their unpleasant emotions are especially prone to Problematic Internet Use (PIU), which is why emotion dysregulation has been considered a risk factor for PIU. The aim of the present study was to assess problematic internet use (PIU) in adolescents after the third wave (nearly 1.5 years after the onset in Europe) of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the German region of Siegen-Wittgenstein, all students 12 years and older from secondary-level schools, vocational schools and universities were offered a prioritized vaccination in August 2021 with an approved vaccine against COVID-19. In this context, the participants filled out the Short Compulsive Internet Use Scale (SCIUS) and two additional items to capture a possible change in digital media usage time and regulation of negative affect due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A multiple regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of PIU. The original sample consisted of 1477 participants, and after excluding invalid cases the final sample size amounted to 1268 adolescents aged 12–17 (x = 14.37 years, SD = 1.64). The average prevalence of PIU was 43.69%. Gender, age, digital media usage time and the intensity of negative emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic were all found to be significant predictors of PIU: female gender, increasing age, longer digital media usage time and higher intensity of negative emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with higher SCIUS total scores.
Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on reading performance of second grade children in Germany

Natalie Förster; Boris Forthmann; Mitja D. Back (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Reading and Writing
In education, among the most anticipated consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are that student performance will stagnate or decline and that existing inequities will increase. Although some studies suggest a decline in student performance and widening learning gaps, the picture is less clear than expected. This study adds to the existing literature on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on student achievement. Specifically, it provides an analysis of the short- and mid-term effects of the pandemic on second grade reading performance in Germany using longitudinal assessments from over 19,500 students with eight measurement points in each school year.
The youngest are hit hardest - the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitalization rate for children, adolescents, and young adults with anorexia nervosa in a large German representative sample

Beate Herpertz-Dahlmann; Astrid Dempfle; Stefan Eckardt

Published: November 2022   Journal: European Psychiatry

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the mental health of children and adolescents. Young people at risk for anorexia nervosa (AN) have been especially shown to be affected. There are no studies that have investigated the respective proportions of hospitalized children, adolescents, and young adults separately as well as of both sexes during the COVID-19 crisis. This study is based on the administrative data of the largest German statutory health insurance. All children (0–14 years) and adolescents (15–19 years) with a discharge diagnosis of typical and atypical AN according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 were included. Admission rates per 10,000 person-years were calculated separately by sex and age group, based on admission numbers from the 9-month interval from January to September of 2019, 2020, and 2021 and the number of insured persons per sex and age group of each year.

Development of restrictive eating disorders in children and adolescents with long-COVID-associated smell and taste dysfunction

Maire Brasseler; Anne Schönecker; Mathis Steindor (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Pediatrics

Absent or abnormal senses of smell and taste have been frequently reported during both acute and long COVID in adult patients. In contrast, pediatric patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 are often asymptomatic and the loss of smell and/or taste has been infrequently reported. After observing several young patients with COVID-associated anosmia and ageusia at our clinic, we decided to investigate the incidence of subsequent eating disorders in these patients and in SARS-CoV-2 positive patients who did not experience anosmia and ageusia during the same period. A single-site retrospective cohort study of 84 pediatric patients with suspected long COVID who were treated in the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Outpatient Clinic at the University Hospital Essen were evaluated for persistent symptoms of COVID-19. Smell and taste dysfunction as well as eating behaviors were among the signs and symptoms analyzed in this study.

The impact of experiencing severe physical abuse in childhood on adolescent refugees' emotional distress and integration during the COVID-19 pandemic

Flurina Potter; Katalin Dohrmann; Brigitte Rockstroh (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

Accumulating evidence highlights the importance of pre- and post- migration stressors on refugees’ mental health and integration. In addition to migration-associated stressors, experiences earlier in life such as physical abuse in childhood as well as current life stress as produced by the COVID-19-pandemic may impair mental health and successful integration – yet evidence on these further risks is still limited. The present study explicitly focused on the impact of severe physical abuse in childhood during the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluated the impact of these additional stressors on emotional distress and integration of refugees in Germany. The sample included 80 refugees, 88.8% male, mean age 19.7 years. In a semi-structured interview, trained psychologists screened for emotional distress, using the Refugee Health Screener, and integration status, using the Integration Index. The experience of severe physical abuse in childhood was quantified as a yes/no response to the question: “Have you been hit so badly before the age of 15 that you had to go to hospital or needed medical attention?” Multiple hierarchical regression analyses further included gender, age, residence status, months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and length of stay in Germany to predict emotional distress and integration.

COVID-19-related future anxiety is associated with the health-related quality of life in school-aged children and adolescents: a cross-sectional study

Anika Kästner; Petra Lücker; Arne Hannich (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, previous studies have shown that the physical as well as the mental health of children and adolescents significantly deteriorated. Future anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its associations with quality of life has not previously been examined in school children. As part of a cross-sectional web-based survey at schools in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, school children were asked about COVID-19-related future anxiety using the German epidemic-related Dark Future Scale for children (eDFS-K). Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was assessed using the self-reported KIDSCREEN-10. The eDFS-K was psychometrically analyzed (internal consistency and confirmatory factor analysis) and thereafter examined as a predictor of HRQoL in a general linear regression model.

Help-seeking attitudes and behaviours for mental health problems in adolescents before and during the first COVID-19 school closures in Germany

Sophia Lustig; Julian Koenig; Stephanie Bauer (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Early Intervention in Psychiatry

Comparing measures of psychological wellbeing and help-seeking in youths before and within the first school closures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic enables a better understanding of the effects the pandemic has for those seeking professional help for mental health problems. Data were obtained from the Germany-based ProHEAD school study. Pre-lockdown and lockdown samples (n = 648) were compared regarding pupils' psychological wellbeing, help-seeking attitudes and help-seeking behaviour.

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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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