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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Psychiatric symptoms and emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Italian adolescents during the third lockdown: a cross-sectional cohort study

Martina Maria Mensi; Marta Iacopelli; Marika Orlandi (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Scientific Reports
A previous study showed that about 80% of Italian adolescents reported isolated symptoms of acute or post-traumatic stress during the frst lockdown in Italy. This study proposed a new questionnaire to investigate the presence of symptoms related to anxiety, panic, depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, social withdrawal, stress disorders, psychotic symptoms, anti-conservative thoughts, and self-harming acts aggravated by COVID-19 restrictions and possible diferences between males and females. 500 adolescents (12–18 years) completed an online survey created using validated scales. 41% of the respondents felt more stress than during the frst lockdown. 1.85% showed suprathreshold symptoms for post-traumatic stress disorder and 21% showed isolated symptoms of acute or posttraumatic stress due to the pandemic. In addition, it found psychotic symptoms (16%), panic (25% suprathreshold), anxiety (46.8% suprathreshold), depression (18.7% suprathreshold), eating-related symptoms (51%), sleep difculties (57%), a tendency to social withdrawal after the pandemic (15%), suicidal ideation (30%), and self-harming behavior (9%). Furthermore, girls showed a more severe level of distress.
The role of child protection managers during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. Challenges, priorities, new knowledge and skills

Camilla Landi; Paola Limongelli

Published: December 2022   Journal: European Journal of Social Work
This paper focuses on the role of the managers of child protection services in a region of Northern Italy during the Covid-19 pandemic. In most child protection services, there is a manager who is responsible for supporting social workers and collaborating with directors and policymakers. The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted welfare organisations, professionals, service users, and families. Given the exceptional situation, an online survey was conducted on child protection services and the functions performed by managers during the first phase of the pandemic (March-May 2020). This paper presents the findings of a research survey involving 85 child protection managers.
Italian adolescents' perception of tele-psychodrama treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gianmarco Biancalani; Hod Orkibi; Shoshi Keisari (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Arts & Health

Psychodrama is an experiential group psychotherapy that is used to enhance adolescents’ wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the adaptation of this method to an online setting This qualitative study investigated whether and how tele-psychodrama provides psychological support to adolescents, in order to better understand its strengths and weaknesses. 14 adolescents from Northern and Central Italy. 14 interviews were conducted at the end of group tele-psychodrama treatment and were analysed with qualitative thematic analysis

How COVID-19 phases have impacted psychiatric risk: a retrospective study in an emergency care unit for adolescents

Maria Mucci; Francesca Lenzi; Giulia Maria D’Acunto (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Children
Dramatic events during the COVID-19 pandemic have acutely impacted the psychosocial environment worldwide, with negative implications for mental health, particularly for more vulnerable children and adolescents with severe psychiatric illnesses. Some data suggest that the pandemic waves may have produced different psychopathological consequences, further worsening in the second phase of the pandemic, compared to those in the first lockdown, soon after March 2020. To test the hypothesis of a further worsening of psychiatric consequences of COVID-19 in the second lockdown compared to the first lockdown, we focused our analysis on a consecutive sample of youth referred to a psychiatric emergency unit for acute mental disorders in the time period between March 2019–March 2021. The sample, consisting of 241 subjects (123 males and 118 females, ranging in age from 11 to 17 years), was divided into three groups: Pre-Lockdown Group (PLG, 115 patients); First Lockdown Group (FLG, 65 patients); and Second Lockdown Group (SLG, 61 patients).
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on food habits and neophobia in children in the framework of the family context and parents' behaviors: a study in an Italian central region

Annalisa Di Nucci; Umberto Scognamiglio; Federica Grant (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Nutrition

This paper aims to evaluate whether changes in lifestyle and eating habits resulting from the Covid-19 emergency have influenced the post-pandemic level of food neophobia and in children living in an Italian central region.  A sample of 99 children took part in a retrospective assessment carried out with a self-administrated questionnaire. Pre and post-pandemic evaluation of eating habits, physical activity, and lifestyle indicators was carried out. Food neophobia was evaluated following the Child Food Neophobia Scale (CFNS). Descriptive statistics were produced. A contingency analysis was performed to check associations between variables.

Interviews about pandemics and protective measures: studying key informants' representation to develop a web-application for fostering children and adolescents' resilience

Emmanuela Rocca; Roberto Burro; Marco Carradore (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Psychology, Health & Medicine
COVID-19 pandemic can be defined as a biological disaster whose impact is particularly evident for children and adolescents, vulnerable populations because of their level of cognitive and affective development. For this reason, it is of paramount relevance to develop actions focused on disaster-related prevention and preparedness, including psycho-education. This study aimed at exploring key informants’ representation of the pandemic, also to identify the contents for the first two levels of a psycho-educational web-application for children and adolescents, i.e., PandHEMOT® (Pandemics – Helmet for EMOTions). It involved 25 experts with different professional roles through semi-structured interviews about a variety of aspects related to the pandemic.
How teen–parent relationships changed during the pandemic period. Teenagers talk about thmselves

Maria Gabriella Pediconi

Published: November 2022   Journal: Prima Educatione
COVID-19 has had an indirect impact on families’ daily lives: the restrictive measures to limit its spread changed family routines and affected the quality of parent-adolescent relationships. Some research examined changes in parenting and parent–child relationship quality, but there is a lack within scientific literature about what is the adolescents’ specific vision about the qualitative changes of their teen–parent relationships during the pandemic period. Teens’ qualitative descriptions of relationships with parents are the focus of the explorative research presented in this paper. Fifty-three Italian adolescents described how their family relationships changed during the lockdown (March–May 2020). Most of them describe an increase in the quality of their relationships with parents and relatives and perceive the lockdown as an occasion to grow and to learn about the complex aspects of life. Instead, those who perceived the lockdown as a traumatic period describe a difficult and conflictual domestic setting during their forced isolation at home.
The experiences of parents and Ccildren during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tiziana Schirone; Isabella Quadrelli

Published: November 2022   Journal: Prima Educatione

The study, which included a total of 1,122 Italian parents (96.5% female; 3.5% male) of children with an average age of 7.56 years (N = 1,461, SD = 2.03), explores how parents with children (5–11 years old) represent changes in their daily habits as well as their own and children’s experiences in relation to the impact caused by the health emergency. The study also investigates how work, family life, contextual factors and media exposure associated with information regarding COVID-19 have contributed to influencing emotional states and behavioural patterns. The research programme was carried out by an online questionnaire in June 2020. The pandemic was experienced in a variety of ways across four clusters. The highest levels of discomfort can be observed among those parents who have experienced isolation and the fear of contagion with higher levels of anxiety, which have been intensified by the perception of change and the deterioration in working conditions. Parents with higher emotional instability have found a low emotional stability and high depressive tones in their children.

The effect of COVID-19 on sleep quality and mental health: adolescents are more at risk than the elderly

Luigi De Gennaro; Serena Scarpelli; Maurizio Gorgoni

Published: November 2022   Journal: Brain Sciences

After the appearance of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) during 2019, the virus has spread with alarming speed and a pandemic quickly developed. The complex consequences of the pandemic phenomenon, i.e., the consequences of the pandemic per se and the countermeasures adopted to control infections and deaths, were associated with a negative impact on sleep quality and, in general, mental health. With a global prevalence of sleep disturbances of approximately 30–40%, as suggested by meta-analytical studies a stable association with psychological distress has been repeatedly reported. In Europe, Italy was the first country to report high rates of infection and deaths, and, as a consequence, the Italian Government declared unprecedented restrictive measures with a total lockdown on 9 March 2020. Not surprisingly, many studies on the effects of the lockdown and/or the pandemic were conducted in Italy , reporting an increase in sleep difficulties associated with the pandemic, particularly during the lockdown periods. Along this vein, the Italian study by Amicucci et al. [10] also investigated the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown during Spring 2020 on sleep quality and mental health. The main merit of this study is a specific focus on two at-risk groups: late adolescents (18–20 years) and the elderly (65–75 years). The authors used a web-based survey and validated questionnaires to assess sleep quality, insomnia, stress, depression, and anxiety. The adolescents reported more insomnia symptoms, worse sleep quality, longer sleep latency, higher daytime dysfunction, a more prevalent disruption of sleep habits (bedtime, get-up time, and nap), and a more negative impact on mental health (higher levels of depression and perceived stress than the elderly). Older participants showed shorter sleep durations, lower habitual sleep efficiency, and greater use of sleep medications.

Feeling supported and engaged during COVID-19: the role of family and colleagues in promoting teachers' well-being

Annalisa Soncini; Francesca Floris; Maria Cristina Matteucci

Published: November 2022   Journal: Teachers and Teaching
The present study aimed at analysing the impact of teachers’ perceived family and colleague support and work engagement on their well-being and life satisfaction during the first European wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. While implementing distance learning and complying with school closures, 1036 Italian teachers took part in an online survey. A structural equation path model showed that perceiving to be supported by family members directly influenced teachers’ well-being and life satisfaction. The perceived support of colleagues promoted life satisfaction directly and indirectly via increased teachers’ work engagement, whereas teachers’ well-being only indirectly.
Boys do cry: age and gender differences in psycho-physiological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy.

Giulia M. Dotti Sani; Francesco Molteni; Simone Sarti (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Applied Research in Quality of Life
This article contributes to the quality of life literature by investigating gender and age gaps in psycho-physiological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. Specifically, it investigates whether women experienced higher levels of distress than men, and if such gap can be explained by a greater negative reaction of women in the experience of a negative COVID-19 related event, such as the illness or death of a relative. Moreover, it explores whether age moderated or amplified the effect of a negative event on distress among women and men. To do so it relies on an ad hoc survey carried out between April 2020 and June 2021 in Italy, the first European country to be hit by the pandemic.
Is playing video games during COVID-19 lockdown related to adolescent well-being? The role of emotional self-efficacy and positive coping

Emanuela Calandri; Elena Cattelino; Federica Graziano

Published: November 2022   Journal: European Journal of Developmental Psychology
The relationship between adolescents’ use of video games and their well-being is controversial and largely unexplored during the COVID −19 pandemic. This study examined the association between adolescent video game use and well-being during a nationwide lockdown (March-May 2020) and investigated whether this association was mediated by emotional self-efficacy and moderated by positive coping. The study involved 168 Italian adolescents aged 14–19 years (M = 16.6 years, SD = 1.6). Data were collected through an anonymous online questionnaire. Moderated mediation analysis showed that playing video games was indirectly associated with lower health complaints and higher affective well-being by mediating emotional self-efficacy. In addition, positive coping was found to moderate the relationship between video game use and emotional self-efficacy.
Qualitative assessment of the interest in science by high school students who participated in the Italian Masterclasses during, before and after the Covid-19 pandemic

C. Tarricone; E. Torassa

Published: November 2022   Journal: Proceedings of Science
This study is based on a survey conducted during the International Masterclasses days taken place in almost all the Italian universities during, before, and after the Covid-19 pandemic. More than one thousand students per year mostly enrolled in scientific high schools, performed data analysis using real data collected by high energy physics experiments, about one hundred students per year familiarized with the actual operation technique used for cancer treatment employing x-rays (Particle Therapy). The survey collected the feedback given on a voluntary basis by a sub-sample of the students who participated to the 2018, 2021 (remote), and 2022 editions. Answers show a constant and significant appreciation in the activity, but also a progressive decrease of interest in physics and in technical or scientific professions or research professions in “hard” science matters. In the study presented here, the reasons of interest/disinterest in scientific fields have been investigated.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 414 | No. of pages: 4 | Language: English | Topics: Education | Tags: COVID-19 response, higher education, lockdown, social distance, students | Countries: Italy
Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on children with special needs requiring general anaesthesia for the treatment of dental disease: the experience of the Brescia Children's Hospital, Lombardy, Italy

K. Tewfik; C. Peta; M. C. De Giuli (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

Special needs children presenting with dental problems were penalised during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the reduction of clinical activity and the risks of nosocomial infection. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of the pandemic on oral healthcare in paediatric special needs patients. It retrospectively assessed and compared the outpatient clinic activity and dental procedures performed under general anaesthesia in children with special needs at Brescia Children’s Hospital (Italy) in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Any delay between expected waiting time based on assigned priority and surgery was recorded. The efficacy of the protocol adopted to reduce the spread of Covid-19 was evaluated by reporting any infections in patients, parents, and health care providers.

Cite this research | Open access | Issue: 11 | No. of pages: 6 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: child health, COVID-19 response, health services, hospitalization, lockdown, social distance | Countries: Italy
Adolescents with neuropsychiatric disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic: focus on emotional well-being and parental stress

Francesca Felicia Operto; Costanza Scaffidi Abbate; Francesco Tommaso Piscitelli (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Healthcare
The aim of our research was to explore emotional/behavioral changes in adolescents with neuropsychiatric conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and parental stress levels through a standardized assessment, comparing the data collected before and during the first months of lockdown. Moreover, an additional goal was to detect a possible relationship between emotional/behavioural symptoms of adolescents and the stress levels of their parents. 178 Italian adolescents aged between 12–18 that were referred to the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit of the University Hospital of Salerno with different neuropsychiatric diagnoses were enrolled. Two standardized questionnaires were provided to all parents for the assessment of parental stress (PSI-Parenting Stress Index-Short Form) and the emotional/behavioral problems of their children (Child Behaviour Check List). The data collected from questionnaires administered during the six months preceding the pandemic, as is our usual clinical practice, were compared to those recorded during the 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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