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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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16 - 30 of 89
School openings and the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy: a provincial-level analysis using the synthetic control method

Vincenzo Alfano; Salvatore Ercolano; Lorenzo Cicatiello

Published: July 2021   Journal: Health Policy
Schools have been central in the debate about COVID-19. On the one hand, many have argued that they should be kept open, given their importance to youngsters and the future of the country, and the effort many countries have made in establishing protocols to keep them safe. On the other hand, it has been argued that open schools further the spread of the virus, given that these are places with large-scale interaction between teenagers and adults accompanying their children, as well as a major source of congestion on public transportation. This study aims to identify the effect of school openings on the spread of COVID-19 contagion. Italy offers an interesting quasi-experimental setting in this regard due to the scattered openings that schools have experienced. By means of a quantitative analysis, employing a synthetic control method approach, we find that Bolzano, the first province in Italy to open schools after the summer break, had far more cases than its synthetic counterfactual, built from a donor pool formed from the other Italian provinces. Results confirm the hypothesis that despite the precautions, opening schools causes an increase in the infection rate, and this must be taken into account by policymakers.
Psychometric properties of the Italian version of the Pandemic-Related Pregnancy Stress Scale (PREPS) and its correlation with anxiety and depression

Chiara Penengo; Chiara Colli; Marco Garzitto (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

In the beginning of 2020, Italy was the first European country to face the COVID-19 outbreak. Restrictions imposed during the pandemic, social isolation, and the cancellation of medical appointments likely resulted in stress that may have affected pregnant women adversely. This paper aims to determine the psychometric validity of the Italian version of the Pandemic-Related Pregnancy Stress Scale (PREPS) in assessing COVID-19-related stress in pregnant women and to examine correlations between PREPS scales and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The quality of mother-child feeding interactions during COVID-19 pandemic: an exploratory study on an Italian sample

Luca Cerniglia; Renata Tambelli; Elena Trombini (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: European Journal of Developmental Psychology

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the life of individuals in several realms such as work, education, and interpersonal interactions. No research has so far investigated the possible influence of the emergency on the quality of mother-child exchanges during feeding. The mothers’ psychopathological risk, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsion scores and caregiving distress significantly increased. Children’s emotional/behavioral functioning worsened during the pandemic, with significantly higher Internalizing and externalizing scores. This is the first study to focus on the quality of mother-child feeding interactions during the pandemic. This exploratory study can expand the knowledge on the possible negative outcomes of COVID-19 on family life and caregiving.present study aimed to do so in a sample of mothers and children (N = 359) recruited in the general population.


Family adjustment to COVID-19 lockdown in Italy: parental stress, coparenting, and child externalizing behavior

Michele Giannotti; Noemi Mazzoni; Arianna Bentenuto (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Family Process
Evidence of psychological distress in families during COVID-19 outbreak are arising. However, the perceived changes in psychological adjustment during home confinement with respect to the period before the pandemic have not been addressed yet. Moreover, little is known about the role of coparenting and specific COVID-19 contextual variables on parental stress and children's behavioral difficulties in the Italian context. Using a cross-sectional survey, this study collected data on 841 Italian parents of children aged 3–11 years with typical development during the home confinement (20th April–18th May). It analyzed levels of parental stress, coparenting, and child externalizing behaviors before and during the home confinement. Additionally, hierarchical regressions were performed to investigate predictors of parental stress and child externalizing behaviors during the lockdown.
Governing education in times of crisis: State interventions and school accountabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Alison L. Milner; Paola Mattei; Christian Ydesen

Published: June 2021   Journal: European Educational Research Journal
Strategic government interventions in public education have shifted and blurred the boundaries between state, market and civil society modes of governance. Within this matrix of interdependent relations, schools operate under increasingly hybrid accountability arrangements in which public accountability can both complement and compete with market and social regimes and their associated institutional logics, goals, values and mechanisms. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, national governments implemented a wide range of emergency measures which had consequences for the mixes and layers of school accountabilities. This article examines the principal policy changes in Denmark, England and Italy. Drawing on state theories and the concept of ‘hybrid accountability’, semi-structured interviews with national and local policymakers and school practitioners were analysed thematically. While cultural nuances exist between the cases, our findings reveal that state interventions reinforce a public–professional accountability hybrid and hierarchies of control and command within and outside networks. Concomitantly, state non-interventions and the distinct underlying institutional logics associated with national large-scale assessments suggest policy inertia with implications for professional accountability and institutionalised change
Self-efficacy, subjective well-being and positive coping in adolescents with regard to Covid-19 lockdown

Elena Cattelino; Silvia Testa; Emanuela Calandri (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Current Psychology
The study is aimed at examining the relationship between emotional and self-regulated learning self-efficacy, subjective well-being (SWB) and positive coping among adolescents and youths, during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. 485 Italian students (74% girls; mean age 19.3) filled in an online questionnaire during the lockdown period. The hypothesized model in which both the forms of self-efficacy were predictors of SWB and positive coping, and SWB partially mediated the relation between self-efficacy measures and positive coping was tested by means of Structural equation modeling. Results largely supported the hypothesized relationships and suggested paying special attention to adolescents’ self-efficacy in regulating basic negative emotions, in order to promote positive coping strategies to face challenges coming from everyday life and from non-normative events.
Psychological symptoms in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese youth during the COVID-19 health crisis: a longitudinal study

Mireia Orgilés; Rita Francisco; Elisa Delvecchio (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Aiming to slow down the spread of the COVID-19, a lockdown was declared in the first term of 2020 in many European countries, applying different restrictions measures. Although the psychological effects of home confinement in children have been described, there is a lack of longitudinal research examining the impact of the confinement over time. The present study analyzes the evolution of the psychological wellbeing of children and adolescents from three European countries with different restrictions. Parents of 624 Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese children and adolescents aged 3 to 18 years old completed the “Impact Scale of COVID-19 and Home Confinement on Children and Adolescents” two, five, and eight weeks after the lockdown.
Sleep disorders reveal distress among children and adolescents during the Covid-19 first wave: results of a large web-based Italian survey

Arianna Dondi; Anna Fetta; Jacopo Lenzi (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Italian Journal of Pediatrics

Measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic led to significant lifestyle changes for children and adolescents mainly related to the closure of schools and recreational activities, reduced social interaction, and increased family concerns. A cross-sectional online survey of 78 questions investigating social determinants of health, mood changes, symptoms of anxiety, increase in sleep disorders and unusual repetitive movements was offered to parents living in Italy with children ≤18 years; including families of children with disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, chronic diseases, and specific learning disabilities. The survey was conducted on the Qualtrics platform 6 months after the beginning of the pandemic and distributed in hospitals and paediatricians’ waiting rooms as well as through social networks.

Gay fathers through cross-border surrogacy during the COVID-19 pandemic: implications for mental health and father–child bonding

Nicola Carone; Demetria Manzi; Lavinia Barone (et al.)

Published: June 2021
Between 20 March–29 July 2020, this cross-sectional case-control study collected data on father–child bonding quality, depression, anxiety, and somatization in 30 Italian gay fathers (n = 15 families) who were having or successfully had a child through cross-border surrogacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. These fathers were compared to a sociodemographically similar group of 50 Italian gay fathers (n = 25 families) who had children through cross-border surrogacy prior to the pandemic.
Distance learning in Italian primary and middle school children during the COVID-19 pandemic: a national survey

Francesca Scarpellini; Giulia Segre; Massimo Cartabia

Published: June 2021   Journal: BMC Public Health volume
School closure created difficulties for parents, who were asked to care for their children and help them with schooling, while working at home. This study aimed to explore the experiences in organising school for children at home and its implications on children’s psychological well-being and educational progress during the quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic. A nationwide online survey of mothers of primary and middle school students was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Demographic data and information on distance learning organisation and children’s attitudes and behavioural changes were collected.
Childbirth experience and practice changing during COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study

Annalisa Inversetti; Simona Fumagalli; Antonella Nespoli (et al.)

Published: May 2021

This study aims to evaluate mothers’ satisfaction with childbirth experience in a cohort of women who delivered during COVID pandemia and to compare them to a pre-COVID cohort. A cross-sectional study in a low-risk maternity unit was performed.

Eating behaviour, physical activity and lifestyle of Italian children during lockdown for COVID-19

Laura Censi; Stefania Ruggeri; Myriam Galfo (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
In March 2020 Italy went into lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic and children changed rapidly their lifestyles with possible negative effects on their health status. An online survey collected data on eating habits, physical activity, perception/behaviour of 1027 Italian 2–11 years children during lockdown. The chi-square test was applied to test differences in proportions. Results showed a tendency of eating behaviour to worsen as children age and by areas. Only 32.3% of the children had high adherence to Mediterranean Diet, with better scores in 2–5 years children. 78.1% of the children stopped their habitual physical activity, with higher percentage among 6–11 and in Northern children; only 51.8% maintained some activities at home, playing mainly movement games/sports. Children spent more time on devices, missed school and friends, being more bored and less creative. This framework highlights the growing need for strategies to preserve children’s health in this and future pandemics.
Interviewing children: the impact of the COVID-19 quarantine on children's perceived psychological distress and changes in routine

G. Segre; R. Campi; F. Scarpellini (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: BMC Pediatrics
The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in governments implementing disease containment measures such as school closures, social distancing, and home quarantine. To date, only a few studies have drawn attention to the psychological impact of lockdown on Italian children’s mental health. The present study aimed to investigate the psychological distress (anxiety and mood symptoms) and perceived changes in routine among Italian primary and middle school students during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Fathers matter: intrahousehold responsibilities and children's wellbeing during the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy

Lucia Mangiavacchi; Luca Piccoli; Luca Pieroni

Published: May 2021   Journal: Economics & Human Biology
The lockdown imposed during the spring of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic upset families lives, in addition to the health consequences of the virus, forcing parents to completely reorganize their labor, domestic work and childcare time. At the same time, school closures forced children to rearrange their lives and learning processes: in Italy, schools and nurseries were closed for four months, and the incidence and quality of distance learning activities was heterogeneous across education levels and among schools. Using real-time survey data on families with under-16 children collected in April 2020, which include information on parents’ market and household work, and their perception of their children's wellbeing, we estimate how the lockdown has affected children's use of time, their emotional status and their home learning, and whether the reallocation of intrahousehold responsibilities during the lockdown played a role in this process. Changes in the parental division of household tasks and childcare, mostly induced by the labor market restrictions imposed during the lockdown, point to a greater involvement of fathers in childcare and homeschooling activities. This positive variation in fathers’ involvement is accompanied by an increase in children's emotional wellbeing and by a reduction in TV and passive screen time. On the other hand, the quality of children's home learning does not appear to depend on which parent is overseeing their work, but rather on the type of distance learning activities proposed by their teachers.
Dreaming in adolescents during the COVID-19 health crisis: survey among a sample of European school students

Ana Guerrero-Gomez; Isabel Nöthen-Garunja; Michael Schredl (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
According to the continuity hypothesis of dreaming and contemporary psychodynamic approaches, dreams reflect waking life. The aim of the present study was to explore the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and dreaming in adolescents. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Italy, Romania and Croatia involving 2,105 secondary school students (69% girls, mean age 15.6 ± 2.1 years; 31% boys, mean age 15.1 ± 2.2 years; mean age of whole sample 15.4 ± 2.1 years). No substantial differences between countries were found.
16 - 30 of 89

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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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.