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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 42
Lone parenthood in the COVID-19 context: Israeli single gay fathers' perspective

Maya Tsfati; Dorit Segal-Engelchin

Published: April 2022   Journal: Child & Family Social Work
This article focuses on Israeli single gay fathers, using the Stress Process Model (SPM) as a framework to investigate their fathering experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thematic analysis of 15 in-depth semi-structured interviews with Israeli single gay fathers during the third national lockdown revealed that their parenting experiences during the pandemic were shaped by both COVID-related stress exposure and interpersonal resources, which the fathers viewed as interactive. These fathers described three main pandemic-specific stressors: financial insecurity and workplace transformation, feelings of loneliness and isolation and health-related fears.
Mothers as teachers to their children: lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic

Audrey Addi-Raccah; Noa Seeberger Tamir

Published: March 2022   Journal: Journal of Family Studies
The study examined Israeli mothers’ engagement in their children’s distance learning during COVID-19 crisis. A thematic analysis of interviews with 20 mothers from high and low socioeconomic background yielded three core categories: (a) mothers’ responses to the situation of school closures that addressed to organizing, supervising and less learning pressure by keeping boundaries between school and home activities; (b) challanged and concerens that refed to workload, instructional difficulty and the quality of teachers’ work; (c) mothers’ resources for engaging in their children's learning that comprised social capital and human capital including digital skills. Socioeconomic differences were found in regard to these three core categories that sustain inequality. However, mothers from low socioeconomic background reported being actively engaged and critical toward teachers.
Burden and growth during COVID-19: comparing parents of children with and without disabilities

Shirli Werner; Yael Hochman; Roni Holler (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Journal of Child and Family Studies
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have had a disproportionate impact on families with young children, especially with disabilities. This study examined factors associated with burden and growth among parents of young children in Israel, while comparing parents of children with and without disabilities. It hypothesized that the association between family functioning, informal social support, and perceived adequacy of educational services and burden and growth would be moderated by disabilities. An online questionnaire was completed by 675 parents of young children, 95 of them with disability. The moderating effect of disability on burden and growth was examined using PROCESS.
When COVID-19 met families living in armed-conflict zones: the importance of maternal trauma and child self-regulation

Kinneret Levavi; Porat Yakov; Alison Pike (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry
The COVID-19 outbreak began in Israel at the end of February 2020, and on March 17, 2020, a general lockdown was announced. Families were instructed to stay at home and schools and non-essential businesses were closed. Aiming to understand how families who were already living in areas of high exposure to armed conflict would be affected by another external stressful condition, data were collected before and after the outbreak. Mothers and children (aged 10–45 months) were recruited from areas with high (n = 40) and low (n = 78) exposure to armed conflict. Mothers reported on their posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and on their child's effortful control tendencies prior to the outbreak. Toward the end of the first lockdown, mothers were interviewed regarding adverse effects of the outbreak on their family. No group differences were found for maternal perceptions of adverse effects of COVID-19. However, a moderation model was revealed, indicating that maternal PTSS as well as child effortful control predicted adverse effects of COVID-19 only in the high-exposure group. Results are discussed considering cumulative stress and risk factors.
Mediation-moderation links between mothers' ACEs, mothers' and children's psychopathology symptoms, and maternal mentalization during COVID-19

Daphna G. Dollberg; Keren Hanetz-Gamliel

Published: March 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry
Research has suggested adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as a transdiagnostic risk factor for a variety of affective disorders. They are also linked with a parent's tendency toward affect dysregulation and hyperarousal, which may interfere with parenting and children's wellbeing. On the other hand, maternal mentalization can serve as a moderating factor that can help parents regulate their arousal, shielding children during adverse circumstances. This study analyzed the mediated links between ACEs and mothers' and children's psychopathology symptoms during COVID-19 to determine whether maternal mentalization and the child's age moderate these links. Using results from 152 Israeli mothers of children aged 3–12 years recruited during the month-long lockdown in Israel, it documented that the mothers' ACEs were linked with increased risk of depressive and anxiety symptoms and with children's internalizing and externalizing behaviors.
Changes in body mass index in children and adolescents in Israel during the COVID-19 pandemic

Shlomit Shalitin; Moshe Phillip; Michal Yackobovitch-Gavan (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: International Journal of Obesity

The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has health, social, and economic implications. This study primary objective was to evaluate changes in body mass index (BMI) from the pre-pandemic to COVID-19 pandemic period among a large pediatric population in Israel. This retrospective cohort study is based on data from Clalit Health Services, the largest health maintenance organization in Israel. The data accessed included sociodemographic, anthropometric, and clinical parameters of persons aged 2–20 years with at least one BMI measurement during 2017–2019 (pre-pandemic period) and one between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 (pandemic period).

The mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents: risk and protective factors

Anat Shoshani; Ariel Kor

Published: February 2022   Journal: Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance
The restrictions to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have led to considerable social isolation, posing significant threats to mental health worldwide. The preventive lockdowns may be especially difficult for children and adolescents, who rely extensively on their daily routines and peer connections for stability and optimal development. However, there is a dearth of longitudinal research examining the mental health and daily life impact of the pandemic among children and adolescents. This study addresses this gap by examining the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents’ mental health and well-being, and potential risk and protective moderators of mental health change. In the present study, 1,537 Israeli children and adolescents (Mage = 13.97; 52% girls) completed a battery of questionnaires in September 2019; before the COVID-19 outbreak and immediately after an 8-week lockdown period when schools reopened in May 2020.
“Together in a pressure cooker”: parenting children with disabilities during the COVID-19 lockdown

Hochman Yael; Shpigelman Carmit-Noa; Holler Roni (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Disability and Health Journal

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate and unprecedented impact on children with disabilities, their parents and families. This impact has been particularly evident during periods of lockdowns and severe restrictions. This study employed the social model of disability to illuminate negative and positive experiences of Israeli parents of children with disabilities during the first COVID-19 lockdown, as well as the way social environments, particularly educational and welfare services, shape that experience. The study draws upon thematic analysis of written responses of 80 Israeli parents to open-ended questions.

Parental mentalizing during a pandemic: use of mental-state language on parenting social media before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tal Yatziv; Almog Simchon; Nicholas Manco (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Clinical Psychological Science
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a demanding caregiving context for parents, particularly during lockdowns. This study examined parental mentalization, parents’ proclivity to consider their own and their child’s mental states, during the pandemic, as manifested in mental-state language (MSL) on parenting social media. Parenting-related posts on Reddit from two time periods in the pandemic in 2020, March to April (lockdown) and July to August (postlockdown), were compared with time-matched control periods in 2019. MSL and self–other references were measured using text-analysis methods. Parental mentalization content decreased during the pandemic: Posts referred less to mental activities and to other people during the COVID-19 pandemic and showed decreased affective MSL, cognitive MSL, and self-references specifically during lockdown. Father-specific subreddits exhibited strongest declines in mentalization content, whereas mother-specific subreddits exhibited smaller changes. Implications on understanding associations between caregiving contexts and parental mentalization, gender differences, and the value of using social-media data to study parenting and mentalizing are discussed.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on respiratory morbidity during infancy: a birth-cohort study

Nataly Rosenfeld; Avigdor Mandelberg; Ilan Dalal (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Pediatric Pulmonology

To evaluate the incidence of wheezing and overall respiratory morbidity in healthy infants born during the first peak of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, compared with infants born during the preceding year. This was a single-center retrospective birth cohort study to compare a cohort of children born between February and March 2020 (COVID-19 group) to a control group of children born between February and March 2019 (pre-COVID-19 group). At 1 year of age, this study collected respiratory data using parental and telephone questionnaires. Primary outcome: wheezing incidence and/or bronchodilator use. Secondary outcomes: recurrent wheezing, emergency-room visits, hospital admissions, pneumonia diagnosis, and admissions due to lower-respiratory-tract-infections (LRTI). It included the following covariate risk factors in the logistic regression models; atopy, daycare attendance, breastmilk feeding, parental smoking, C-section, siblings, and gestational age.

Children during coronavirus: Israeli preschool children’ s perspectives

Or Perah Midbar Alter

Published: January 2022   Journal: Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology
The corona pandemic has changed the lives of human beings in almost every corner of the globe. This study sought to explore how Israeli children aged 3-6 experienced the corona period, through semi-structured interviews conducted with a playing cards method. The study is based on the context-informed perspective theory (Nadan and Roer-Strier, 2020) which examines the different contexts in the lives of children growing up in different families, while striving to make children's voices heard as agents/experts of their lives (Corsaro, 1997Mayall, 2002). The interviews with the children revealed that the Corona period was indeed a challenging and complex period for them. At the same time, following the intensive stay at home, these children showed mental resilience and took responsibility in three main areas: (1) sibling relationships (2) supporting their parents (3) staying alone. Through taking responsibility for these roles, the children have become partners in coping with the challenges that the Corona and the frequent lockdowns have brought to their family’ s lives.
‘Stranger-danger’* – Israeli children playing with the concept of ‘Corona’ and its’ impact during the COVID-19 pandemic

Esther Cohen; Esther Bamberger

Published: December 2021   Journal: International Journal of Play
This study examines reports of 118 parents about the play activities of Israeli children aged 3-9 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents responded to online questionnaires describing children's play, creative activities and the family's situation. Qualitative analyses revealed changes in both the nature of the children's play activities and in the expressed themes. Findings highlight positive gains in children's development and family relationships. The varied and expansive nature of play seemed to support the children's coping with lockdown and social distancing restrictions. Themes emerging from socio-dramatic play show attempts to deal with fear of coronavirus by seeking imaginary protection and refuge from it, and by attempts to defeat it. Of note are the use of humor and cynicism alongside acts of concern and altruism towards grandparents. This study contributes evidence as to the adaptive abilities of children and the self-healing functions of play, and denote the need to promote them.
A profile analysis of COVID-19 stress-related reactions: the importance of early childhood abuse, psychopathology, and interpersonal relationships

Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan; Dana Lassri

Published: December 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

There is little argument that COVID-19 is potentially highly stressful for many people, however, little research has broken down COVID-19-related distress into different aspects clustering together, and how these clusters differ in terms of the vulnerability of the individuals. The primary aim of the present study was to identify distinct profiles of individuals' reactions to COVID-19-related stress, and analyze potential differences and risk and protective factors associated with these profiles in relation to childhood abuse, psychopathology, and interpersonal relationships. Data was collected online among a convenience sample of 914 men and women in Israel. A Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) for estimating distinct profiles in people's COVID-19-related distress was applied. Next, profiles were compared in childhood abuse, psychopathology, perceived social support and relationship satisfaction.

National COVID-19 vaccine program progress and parents’ willingness to vaccinate their children

Ran D. Goldman; Jeffrey N. Bone; Renana Gelernterd (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics
Vaccinating children against COVID-19 is critical as a public health strategy in order to reach herd immunity and prevent illness among children and adults. The aim of the study was to identify correlation between willingness to vaccinate children under 12 years old, and vaccination rate for adult population in Canada, the United States, and Israel. This was a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey study (COVID-19 Parental Attitude Study) of parents of children 12 years and younger presenting to 12 pediatric emergency departments (EDs). Parental reports of willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 when vaccines for children will be approved was correlated to country-specific rate of vaccination during December 2020–March 2021, obtained from Logistic regression models were fit with covariates for week and the corresponding vaccine rate. A total of 720 surveys were analyzed. In Canada, administering mostly first dose to the adult population, willingness to vaccinate children was trending downward (correlation = −0.28), in the United States, it was trending upwards (correlation = 0.21) and in Israel, initially significant increase with decline shortly thereafter (correlation = 0.06).
COVID-19 among youth in Israel: Correlates of decisions to vaccinate and reasons for refusal

Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan; Kim Mitchell; Yaniv Shlomo (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health

The primary aim of the present study is to examine the reasons for adolescents’ refusal to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine; and examine correlates of vaccination among adolescents aged 12-18 years in Israel. A total of 150 youth aged 12-18 yeas participated in the study. Following parental consent (30% response rate) from an online internet Israeli participants’ pool, 150 youth completed the survey (50·5% response rate). Data was collected May through June 2021.

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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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The first digest covers children and youth mental health under COVID-19.

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