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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Mother-infant emotional availability through the COVID-19 pandemic: examining continuity, stability, and bidirectional associations

AUTHOR(S)
Nila Shakiba; Gal Doron; Avigail Gordon-Hacker (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Infancy
The COVID-19 pandemic may impact the development of infants' social communication patterns with their caregivers. The current study examined continuity, stability, and bidirectional associations in maternal and infant dyadic Emotional Availability (EA) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 110 Israeli mother-infant dyads (51% girls) that were assessed prior to (Mage = 3.5 months) and during (Mage = 12.4 months) the pandemic.
Screen media exposure and behavioral adjustment in early childhood during and after COVID-19 home lockdown periods

AUTHOR(S)
Noa Gueron-Sela; Ido Shaleva; Avigail Gordon-Hacker (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
There is ample evidence that young children's screen media use has sharply increased since the outbreak of the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, the long-term impact of these changes on children's adjustment is currently unclear. The goals of the current study were to assess longitudinal trajectories of young children's screen media exposure through a series of national COVID-19 home lockdowns and to examine the predictive associations between different aspects of media exposure and post-lockdown behavioral adjustment. Data were collected at four timepoints during and after home lockdown periods in Israel. Longitudinal data measuring various aspects of media use, behavioral conduct and emotional problems were gathered from a sample of 313 Israeli children (54% females) between the ages two to five years (Mage at T1 = 3.6), by surveying their mothers at 5 points in time.
Children's excessive digital media use, mental health problems and the protective role of parenting during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Bar Shutzman; Naama Gershy

Published: November 2022   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
COVID-19's outbreak in March 2020 and the social distancing measures that followed it changed the lives of children worldwide. Studies assessing the pandemic's implications for children have reported an alarming increase in the use of digital media (DM) and warned of its adverse impacts on children's functioning and development. The current study aimed to assess the relationship between excessive and problematic DM use and emotional, behavioral, and academic functioning among Israeli adolescents during COVID-19 and to identify adolescents at elevated risk of developing problematic DM use. Three hundred forty-seven Israeli parent–child dyads (M age = 11.81, SD = 1.41) separately completed measures assessing children's DM use (time and addiction), functioning (academic, social, emotional, and behavioral), behavioral dysregulation, and the parents' parenting practices.
A biopsychosocial approach to examining alcohol consumption among youth during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Orit Shapiro; Riki Tesler; Sharon Barak (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Sustainability
This study investigated the relationship between biopsychosocial characteristics (age, sex, self-rated health, mental health, parental socio-economic status, family support, teacher support, peer support) and alcohol consumption (weekly alcohol consumption in the past three months, drunkenness in the past three months, and binge drinking in the past month) in adolescents during a crisis event. The study consisted of 1019 Israeli students aged 11–18. Questionnaires were distributed to the students between May and July 2021 during school. Teacher support among those who presented weekly alcohol consumption and drunkenness in the past three months was lower than in those who did not present such behavior. The effects of parental support differed only for drunkenness behavior, with those who engaged in drunken behavior presenting significantly less parental support. Our findings suggest that teacher support and mental health are the two major factors in preventing risky alcohol consumption behavior during a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, among adolescents.
Daily stress, family functioning and mental health among Palestinian couples in Israel during COVID-19: a moderated mediation model

AUTHOR(S)
Niveen M. Hassan-Abbas

Published: November 2022   Journal: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
The COVID-19 pandemic created a range of stressors, among them difficulties related to work conditions, financial changes, lack of childcare, and confinement or isolation due to social distancing. Among families and married individuals, these stressors were often expressed in additional daily hassles, with an influence on mental health. This study examined two moderated mediation models based on Bodenmann’s systemic-transactional stress model. Specifically, the models tested the hypothesis that intra-dyadic stress mediates the association between extra-dyadic stress and mental health, while two measures of family functioning, cohesion and flexibility, moderate the relationship between extra and intra-dyadic stress. Participants were 480 Palestinian adults in Israel who completed self-report questionnaires. All were in opposite-sex marriages and identified as either cisgender women or cisgender men.
The emotional-behavioral state of Israeli adolescent and young adult females with anorexia nervosa during the COVID19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Yaffa Serur; Hadar Dikstein; Tal Shilton (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Journal of Eating Disorders

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel, the number of patients with eating disorders (EDs) seeking treatment increased significantly. The present study sought to evaluate whether, during the pandemic (2020–21), patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) would show more ED-related, comorbid, and COVID-19-related symptoms in comparison to a naturalistic control group, and whether differences would be found between adult and adolescent patients with AN. We also examined attitudes to telemedicine use during the pandemic in patients receiving long-distance interventions. Using online self-report questionnaires, this study assessed general and COVID-19-specific symptoms with a secure digital platform (REDCap®) in 36 female adolescents with AN, 35 female adults with AN, and 25 female controls.

Does the pandemic affect inequality within families? The case of dual-earner couples in Israel

AUTHOR(S)
Efrat Herzberg-Druker; Tali Kristal; Meir Yaish

Published: October 2022   Journal: Gender & Society
This article exploits the unique consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak to examine whether time constraints drive the unequal division of unpaid labor between dual-earner couples in Israel. Using the first wave of longitudinal household data that was collected in Israel since the outbreak of the pandemic, we focused on 325 dual-earner couples who stayed employed during the first lockdown. By employing OLS regressions, we examined the association between changes in employment hours and changes in unpaid labor for partnered men and women.
Foreign body aspiration in Israeli children during the COVID‐19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Inbal Golan-Tripto; Reuven Tsabari; Elie Picard (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Pediatric Pulmonology

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been a decline in pediatric emergency department visits. This study aimed to assess the pattern of pediatric foreign body aspiration (FBA) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, in comparison to the prior years. This retrospective multicenter study compared the number of children who presented with FBA during the COVID-19 year (March 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021) to the annual average of the years 2016–2019. It also compared the lockdown periods to the postlockdown periods, and the percentage of missed FBA, proven FBA, and flexible bronchoscopy as the removal procedure.

Secrets from the children's room: new understandings of inappropriate and abusive sexual behavior among siblings after the COVID-19 crisis in Israel

AUTHOR(S)
Limor Golan

Published: September 2022   Journal: Trauma, Violence, & Abuse
This article discusses the COVID-19 crisis’s impact on inappropriate and abusive sexual behavior among siblings (IASBAS) and how perceptions of this phenomenon affect construction of the post-crisis reality in Israel. Sibling sexual abuse, the most frequent type of sexual assault against children, does not occur in a vacuum; it is affected by the environment in which children live and develop. The pandemic created situational risk factors and a “germination substrate” for risk of abuse in “normative” families and escalation in families in which it had previously occurred. The first part of the article, based on research data and reports, reviews the objective reality that emerged in Israel and worldwide due to the pandemic. Part two describes situational risk factors converging to a new dangerous situation for children’s abuse and victimization that resulted from this crisis: domestic violence (direct, indirect, and sexual), at-risk children returning and staying at home, increased exposure to online sexual content, parental dysfunction, and lack of formal and informal support sources.
One uncertainty added on top of another: Challenges and resources of mothers of preterm infants during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Palmor Haspel Shoshi; Rivka Tuval-Mashiach; Alona Bin Nun

Published: September 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

This study aims to qualitatively explore COVID-19-related experiences of mothers of preterm infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the main challenges they face, and the resources available for them. The birth of a preterm infant is a stressful event under otherwise normal circumstances. The outbreak of COVID-19, the uncertainty about the virus and how it spreads, and the restrictions imposed, may have exacerbated the stress of caring for a preterm infant. In-depth interviews with 12 mothers of preterm infants who were hospitalized in the NICU at the time of study. The interview addressed challenges and resources related to coping with the pandemic. The interviews were transcribed and content analyzed, based on Lieblich et al’s model for narrative analysis. This research was conducted in accordance with the COREQ checklist.

Reasons underlying the intention to vaccinate children aged 5-11 against COVID-19: A cross-sectional study of parents in Israel, November 2021

AUTHOR(S)
Nicole G. Morozov; Amiel A. Dror; Amani Daoud (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics
Vaccination is a key tool to mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Israel, COVID-19 vaccines became available to adults in December 2020 and to 5–11-year-old children in November 2021. Ahead of the vaccine roll-out in children, this study aimed to determine whether surveyed parents intended to vaccinate their children and describe reasons for their intentions. Information on parental socio-demographic characteristics, COVID-19 vaccine history, intention to vaccinate their children against COVID-19, and reasons for parental decisions were collected using an anonymous online survey. Associations between parental characteristics and plans to vaccinate children were identified using a logistic regression model and described reasons for intentions to vaccinate or not.
Depression, stress and the mediating role of Intimate partner violence (IPV) among Israeli women of childbearing age in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Ofra Halperin; Ola Ali-Saleh; Liora Ore (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Dealing with the outbreak of the new coronavirus has generated unprecedented challenges around the world, including in Israel. Women of childbearing age may be forced to live under particularly difficult circumstances during the pandemic. The current study among Israeli women of childbearing age has three main objectives related to the specific period of the COVID-19 pandemic: to study the prevalence and predictors of intimate partner violence (IPV); to investigate the prevalence and predictors of depression; to examine whether IPV mediates the association between general stress, fear of COVID-19 and depression as an outcome. In a cross-sectional study, 722 married women, Jewish and Arab residents of Israel, were recruited to answer an online self-completion questionnaire during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The questionnaire included an assessment of their degree of general stress and depression, fear of COVID-19, experiences of IPV and demographic variables.
Children and adolescents' mental health following COVID-19: the possible role of difficulty in emotional regulation

AUTHOR(S)
Meirav Hen; Vered Shenaar-Golan; Uri Yatzker

Published: June 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry
The COVID-19 pandemic has shattered routines throughout the world, creating closures and social isolation. Preliminary studies conducted during the pandemic have shown that children and adolescents are mainly affected by social distancing and the lack of a supportive framework. The purpose of the present study was to compare mental health symptoms of 430 children and adolescents who sought mental health services in the community before vs. during the pandemic. The study examined children's perceived burden of the pandemic, reports of emotional and behavioral problems (SDQ) anxiety (SCARED), depressed moods (SMFQ-C), and difficulty in emotional regulation (DERS), as well as intervening variables such as age and gender. Furthermore, the effect of difficulty in emotional regulation on children's mental health symptoms was explored.
Home-quarantine during the initial Covid-19 outbreak in Israel: parent perceived impact on children with ASD

AUTHOR(S)
Ayelet Arazi; Judah Koller; Ditza A. Zachor (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Heliyon
Studies have reported that Covid-19 home-quarantine periods have had mostly negative psychological impact on children with ASD and their families. Here we examined parent perceived impact of a 6-week quarantine period imposed in Israel at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, in mid-March 2020. An anonymous online questionnaire was completed by parents of 268 children with ASD. Parents rated deterioration/improvement in their child's behaviors, abilities, mood, sleep, and anxiety along with changes in their own mood, sleep, parenting skills, and family relationships. T-tests and ANOVA analyses were performed to assess the significance of perceived impact on each domain and potential differences in the impact across families with children of different ages, genders, and levels of required support as well as families that experienced different magnitudes of economic hardships.
The mediating role of the perceived COVID-19 vaccine benefits: examining Israeli parents' perceptions regarding their adolescents' vaccination

AUTHOR(S)
Shiran Bord; Carmit Satran; Ayelet Schor

Published: June 2022   Journal: Vaccines
Israel was among the first countries to initiate adolescent COVID-19 vaccination. As adolescent vaccination requires parental consent, this study evaluated the factors associated with parents’ willingness to vaccinate their adolescents and their point of view regarding adolescents’ involvement in this decision. An online survey was completed by 581 parents of adolescents aged 16–18. The main independent variables included trust in the healthcare system, components of the Health Belief Model (HBM) and adolescents’ involvement in the decision, as well as background data, including demographics. Analysis included a multiple logistic regression and mediation examination. Parents reported that 446 adolescents (76.8%) have been or will soon be vaccinated against COVID-19, 12.2% chose not to vaccinate their child and 11% have not yet decided. Vaccination was significantly associated with HBM components and with adolescents’ involvement in the decision. The perceived vaccination benefits acted as a mediator in the association between parents’ COVID-19 perceived threat and adolescent vaccination, as well as between parents’ trust in the healthcare system and adolescent vaccination. Addressing vaccination benefits and barriers is pivotal in the attempt to enhance adolescents’ vaccination adherence. Considering the importance of adolescents’ involvement in the decision, addressing them directly may also be beneficial in improving vaccination rates.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

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.