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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Pandemic, a catalyst for change: Strategic planning for digital education in English secondary schools, before during and post Covid

Jacqueline Baxter; Alan Floyd; Katharine Jewitt

Published: December 2022   Journal: British Educational Research Journal
Following lockdowns in 2020 owing to Covid-19, schools needed to find a way to ensure the education of their pupils. In order to do this, they engaged in digital learning, to varying extents. Innovations emanated from all school staff including, for example, teachers, leaders and teaching assistants. Some were already innovating in this area and brought forward and implemented digital strategies, while others engaged with digital learning for the first time. While research is emerging about the effects of the pandemic restrictions on pupils and staff in relation to key issues such as mental health and educational attainment, very little is known about the impact on school leaders' strategic planning processes. To address this gap, this paper draws on a UK Research and Innovation funded study adopting a strategy as learning approach to report on 50 qualitative interviews with school leaders to examine digital strategy in English secondary schools, before, during and after July 2021, when restrictions were lifted in England. It draws on strategy as learning literature to evaluate if schools have changed their strategic planning for digital learning, as a direct response to having learned and innovated during the pandemic.
The effect of school bullying on pupils' perceived stress and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic: a longitudinal study

Elizabeth J. Kirkham; C. F. Huggins; C. Fawns-Ritchie

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma
Establishing how the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns have affected adolescent mental health is a key societal priority. Though numerous studies have examined this topic, few have focused on the wellbeing of pupils who experience school bullying. This is particularly important as pupils who experience bullying represent a vulnerable group at increased risk of mental illness. Therefore, this study sought to investigate the relationship between experience of bullying and adolescent wellbeing during lockdown and subsequent re-opening of schools. It used the TeenCovidLife dataset to examine the relationship between experience of bullying and pupils’ perceived stress and wellbeing across three timepoints. Pupils aged 12–17 (n = 255) completed surveys during the first Covid-19 lockdown (May-July 2020), when they returned to school after the first lockdown (August-October 2020), and during the summer term of 2021 (May-June 2021).
A qualitative study about how families coped with managing their well-being, children's physical activity and education during the COVID-19 school closures in England

Lisa Woodland; Ava Hodson; Rebecca K. Webster (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Plos One
In 2020, schools in England closed for six months due to COVID-19, resulting in children being home-schooled. There is limited understanding about the impacts of this on children’s mental and physical health and their education. Therefore, This study explored how families coped with managing these issues during the school closures. 30 qualitative interviews with parents of children aged 18 years and under (who would usually be in school) were conducted between 16 and 21 April 2020. Three themes and eight sub-themes that impacted how families coped whilst schools were closed were identified.
Natural course of health and well-being in non-hospitalised children and young people after testing for SARS-CoV-2: a prospective follow-up study over 12 months

Snehal M. Pinto Pereira; Roz Shafran; Manjula D. Nugawela (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Europe

Despite high numbers of children and young people (CYP) having acute COVID, there has been no prospective follow-up of CYP to establish the pattern of health and well-being over a year following infection. A non-hospitalised, national sample of 5086 (2909 SARS-COV-2 Positive; 2177 SARS-COV-2 Negative at baseline) CYP aged 11–17 completed questionnaires 6- and 12-months after PCR-tests between October 2020 and March 2021 confirming SARS-CoV-2 infection (excluding CYP with subsequent (re)infections). SARS-COV-2 Positive CYP was compared to age, sex and geographically-matched test-negative CYP.

Experiences and support needs of parents/caregivers of children with cancer through the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: a longitudinal study

Nicole Collaço; Ashley Gamble; Jessica Elizabeth Morganhley Gamble (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Archives of Disease in Childhood

This paper aimed to explore the experiences, information and support needs of parents/caregivers of children with cancer and how these changed as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved. Online surveys containing closed and free-text questions on experiences, information and support needs were completed at four time points (between April 2020 and October 2021) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive statistics of closed items and content analysis of qualitative data were conducted.

Covid-19 lockdowns and the precarity of South Asian key workers' families in the United Kingdom

Rizwana Yousaf

Published: December 2022   Journal: South Asian Diaspora
With growing concern in the lives of individuals and communities during COVID-19, there is growing consensus across the globe that the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on different segments of society. It is of pertinent significance to understand the differential impact of pandemic on diverse groups. The concept of ‘intersectional vulnerability’ has been used in this paper to understand the unequal impact of the pandemic. Using an intersectional lens of ethnicity, this paper aims to understand the lived experiences of South Asian key workers’ family members (women) during the COVID-19 lockdowns through narratives of precarity and vulnerability, this study brings out the challenges faced by families of key workers. Vulnerable family members’ fear, stress, economic pressures, persistent inequalities in society, and gendered experiences shape the narratives of these families. The pandemic exacerbated existing precarious positions of families by creating a situation where ethnic inequality and inequitable gendered impacts were further reinforced.
Parenthood and psychological distress among English Millennials during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from the Next Steps cohort study

B. Chen; A. McMunn; T. Gagné

Published: November 2022   Journal: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

The COVID-19 pandemic led to disproportionate mental health responses in younger adults and parents. The aim of the study was to investigate how Millennial parents’ experiences were associated with psychological distress over the first year of the pandemic. It examined data in September 2020 (n men = 994; n women = 1824) and February 2021 (n men = 1054; n women = 1845) from the Next Steps cohort study (started ages 13–14 in 2003–04). In each wave, it examined differences in GHQ-12 scores between parent groups defined by the age and number of children, adjusting for background characteristics at ages 13–14, psychological distress at ages 25–26, and other circumstances during the pandemic. We also examined if differences varied by work status, financial situation before the outbreak and relationship status.

Mothers' perceptions of the role of the COVID-19 pandemic for minority language maintenance in their bilingual children (speaking English and Polish) living in the United Kingdom

Natalia Banasik-Jemielniak; Aleksandra Lazar; Aleksandra Siemieniuk (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Prima Educatione
To answer the question of various forms that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected family language practices in HL families, this study qualitatively analyzed 27 interviews with Polish mothers living in the UK and raising their children bilingually. It found that the world health crisis had both negative and positive impacts on each of the language acquired by the children, and it identified themes that recurred throughout the material. The factors included: limited possibilities of traveling – either to Poland or back to the UK, school closures resulting in shift in childcare constellations, new language and social practices.
Fathers, young children and technology: changes in device use and family dynamics during the COVID-19 UK lockdown

Joe Matthews; Romana Burgess; Bridget Ellis (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
The COVID-19 2020 lockdown measures altered how families spent time together, with many fathers adopting new household roles and spending more time with their children. This paper contributes an empirical account of technology use and fatherhood during the COVID-19 pandemic, and draws implications for the design of technologies to support fathers. It outlines the findings from semi-structured interviews carried out with fathers during lockdown in the UK. Initial interviews (n=19) highlighted challenges in screen viewing, family dynamics, idea generation and self-care.
Digital access constraints predict worse mental health among adolescents during COVID-19

Thomas E. Metherell; Sakshi Ghai; Ethan M. McCormick (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Scientific Reports
The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing social restrictions disrupted young people’s social interactions and resulted in several periods during which school closures necessitated online learning. We hypothesised that digitally excluded young people would demonstrate greater deterioration in their mental health than their digitally connected peers during this time. We analysed representative mental health data from a sample of UK 10–15-year-olds (N = 1387) who completed a mental health inventory in 2017–2019 and thrice during the pandemic (July 2020, November 2020 and March 2021). We employed longitudinal modelling to describe trajectories of adolescent mental health for participants with and without access to a computer or a good internet connection for schoolwork.
Elective home education of children with neurodevelopmental conditions before and after the COVID-19 pandemic started

Laura Paulauskaite; Amanda Timmerman; Athanasia Kouroupa (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
COVID-19 brought disruptions to children’s education and mental health, and accelerated school de-registration rates. This study investigated Elective Home Education (EHE) in families of children with a neurodevelopmental condition. A total of 158 parents of 5–15 year-old children with neurodevelopmental conditions (80% autistic) provided information on reasons for de-registration, their experience of EHE, and children’s mental health.
Children's centres, families and food insecurity in times of crisis

William Baker; Ioanna Bakopoulou

Published: November 2022   Journal: Journal of Poverty and Social Justice
This study examines how children’s centres in a major city in England responded to food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic by helping to run ‘FOOD Clubs’ to support families. Drawing on data from semi-structured interviews with children’s centre staff, it analyses how clubs were organised, why people joined them, and the range of benefits parents derived from them. It extends the literature on food insecurity which focuses heavily on the rise of foodbanks. These data also informs broader policy debates around supporting parents in poverty, effective early years provision and the challenges facing families experiencing food insecurity.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family carers of those with profound and multiple intellectual disabilities: perspectives from UK and Irish Non-Governmental Organisations

M. A. Linden; T. Forbes; M. Brown (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health volume

Family carers of people with profound and multiple intellectual disabilities (PMID) experienced a reduction in healthcare services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many subsequently turned to Non-Governmental Organisations who worked to support families. However, little research has sought to capture the experiences of family carers or identify effective interventions which might support them. To address these concerns we explored the views of Non-Governmental sector workers across the UK and Ireland who supported families people with PMID during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also sought to explore their views on the characteristics of online support programmes for family carers. This study employed a qualitative design using focus groups with participants (n = 24) from five Non-Governmental Organisations across the UK and Ireland. A focus group guide included questions on challenges, supports, coping and resources which helped during lockdown restrictions. Focus groups were held online, were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. The resulting transcripts were pseudonymised and subjected to thematic analysis.

A qualitative exploration of adolescents' experiences of digital Dialectical Behaviour Therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Natasha Ramzan; Rebecca Dixey; Andre Morris

Published: November 2022   Journal: Cognitive Behaviour Therapist
The UK government implemented national social-distancing measures in response to the global COVID19 pandemic. As a result, many appointments in the National Health Service (NHS) took place virtually, including psychological interventions in out-patient settings. This study explored the experiences of adolescents participating in a dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT-A) programme via teletherapy (i.e. via video or telephone call) in a Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Thirteen adolescents with emotion dysregulation and related problems completed an online qualitative survey about their experience and acceptance of DBT-A delivered virtually. Thematic analysis was conducted on the survey data and generated three over-arching themes: (1) sense of loss; (2) feeling uncontained; and (3) benefits of virtual DBT. These over-arching themes were composed of eight subthemes (‘loss of connection with group and therapist’; ‘loss of skills-building opportunities’; ‘limited privacy’; ‘lack of safe therapy space’; ‘difficult endings’; ‘home comforts’; ‘convenience and accessibility’; and ‘easier to participate with others’). This study suggests that adolescents doing virtual DBT-A need approaches that acknowledge and address the additional relational, emotional and practical challenges of online therapy while maintaining fidelity to the evidence-based treatment model.
It's time to talk fathers: The impact of paternal depression on parenting style and child development during the COVID-19 pandemic

Joshua Paul Roberts; Rose-Marie Satherley; Jane Iles

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
This study aimed to understand the relationship between paternal depression, parenting behavior and child developmental outcomes during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) pandemic. In addition, the paternal experience of the pandemic, such as the impact of lockdowns, was explored. Fathers of children aged 6–11 years old (n = 87) were recruited for an online cross-sectional survey. Data was collected through questionnaires and open-ended comments. Regression analysis indicated a higher level of self-reported depressive symptomology in fathers more severely impacted by the pandemic across financial, familial and health domains. Further, COVID-19 impact, but not paternal depression, was linked to fewer authoritative parenting behaviors, characterized as lower warmth and responsiveness. Paternal pandemic impact and depression symptoms were independently predictive of child cognitive scores, and both were associated with emotional and behavioral outcomes.
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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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