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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Youth voices and social participation during a pandemic: Dream teens powered by jovem Cascais

Cátia Branquinho; Sara Silva; Joana Santos (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Youth
In an unprecedented scenario, much of the research and interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which focused on young people, found themselves suspended. The goals of this project were to investigate (Study 1) social participation and positive development among young people in Cascais, Portugal, and to investigate (Study 2-a case study) the implementation of a program promoting active citizenship, social participation, and social entrepreneurship. At the same time, it was intended to constitute a resource and strategy to diminish the social alienation exacerbated by the pandemic. SPSS v.26 software was used to analyze quantitative data from questionnaires used in the study of social participation, as well as the pre- and post-test impacts, and MAXQDA 2020 software was used to analyze qualitative data from YouTube discussions about youth needs and strategies for their problems, as well as from focus groups.
Adolescents' perceived barriers to physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic

Carlos Mata; Marcos Onofre; João Martins (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Children
During the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescents’ routines were deeply affected, which negatively impacted their level of PA. Knowing the barriers to PA in adolescence is relevant, because the perception of more barriers is one of the most consistent negative correlates of PA participation. The purpose of this study was to analyze and compare the barriers perceived by adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic by sex, education level, PA level, and BMI. A total of 1369 students (621 boys and 748 girls; mean age: 14.4 years; SD: 1.74) participated in the study. The chi-square test was used to analyze the differences between groups. Only 3.1% of the adolescents complied with the international guidelines for PA. In general, the barriers with the highest prevalence were the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of time, and taking time away from study. The number of perceived barriers to PA was higher among girls, younger, and inactive participants. Boys selected more the barriers due to COVID-19 than girls, and students with normal weight chose more barriers than those with overweight. This study provides information on adolescents’ PA barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic and draws attention to the negative effects that restrictive measures have had on adolescents’ PA levels.
Anxiety and depressive symptoms, and positive and negative couple interactions among postpartum mothers and fathers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tiago Miguel Pinto; Bárbara Figueiredo

Published: November 2022   Journal: Families, Systems, & Health. Advance
The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and couples’ relationships may be particularly higher in vulnerable groups, including mothers and fathers during the transition to parenthood. This study compared mental health symptoms and couples’ relationship quality among parents who were at 6 months postpartum before or during the COVID-19 pandemic. A sample of 109 primiparous mothers and fathers recruited before the COVID-19 pandemic were assessed at 6 months postpartum, before (n = 69) or during the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 40). Participants completed self-reported measures of anxiety and depressive symptoms, and couples’ positive and negative interactions
Cohesion and conflict for mothers during the pandemic: Results of the Portuguese version of the COVID-19 Household environment scale

Joana Arsénio; Gabriela Fonseca; Alda Portugal (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Family Process
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a worldwide event that has caused significant changes in the daily lives of individuals and families. The combined effect of the pandemic and the stress associated with major life cycle changes, such as the transition to parenthood, is yet to be understood. The aim of the current study was to validate the Portuguese version of the recently developed COVID-19 Household Environment Scale (CHES) and examine its psychometric properties in a sample of mothers who had given birth during the pandemic. The CHES is a self-report measure assessing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in household cohesion and conflict and includes two sections. Section 1 contains 25 descriptive items pertaining to sociodemographic and household characteristics and COVID-19 stressors. Section 2 encompasses household cohesion and conflict, assessing any change in household experiences and activities following the onset of social distancing. The participants consisted of 342 mothers, aged between 19 and 50 years (M = 31.43; SD = 4.38). A confirmatory factor analysis supported the original CHES bifactor structure of household cohesion and conflict, which obtained an acceptable fit (CFI = 0.900, RMSEA = 0.065). Correlations between household cohesion and conflict and family cohesion and dyadic coping contributed to developing the construct validity of this scale.
A qualitative study of social anxiety and impairment amid the COVID-19 pandemic for adolescents and young adults in Portugal and the US

Samantha Coyle; Paula Vagos; Carrie Masia (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: European Journal of Education and Psychology
This qualitative investigation explored the social and academic experiences of socially anxious adolescents and young adults in Portugal and the US as they lived through the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 10 Portuguese adolescents (mean age = 16.9 years; 50% female) and 7 young adults in the US (mean age = 19.67 years; 71% female; racially/ethnically diverse). Participants completed a semi-structured interview evaluating how the pandemic and social restrictions impacted social anxiety symptoms and associated functional impairment in social and academic domains. Thematic analysis was used to categorize responses across developmental stages and countries.
Emotional and behavioral health among Portuguese toddlers during the COVID-19 crisis: the impact of social isolation and caregiving distress

Carolina Toscano; Patrícia Lopes; Cláudia Ramos (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Child Indicators Research
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in the lives of families with young children. The present study aimed to explore whether child social isolation due to the COVID-19 crisis was associated with toddlers’ emotional and behavioral health (EBH) and whether this association was moderated by caregiving distress, during the second mandatory lockdown in Portugal. Participants included 315 toddlers and their primary caregivers. Caregivers were invited to complete a set of questionnaires in order to report about toddlers’ social isolation from other significant family members, other children, and activities outside the house, and to provide ratings of caregiving distress and toddlers’ EBH. Family socioeconomic factors, including stressors resulted from the pandemic, were also measured.
"Having a family is the new normal": parenting in neoliberal academia during the COVID‐19 pandemic

Thais França; Filipa Godinho; Beatriz Padilla (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Gender, Work & Organization
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has made explicit the burden of care shouldered by academic mothers, in addition to juggling their scholarly commitments. Although discussions are abundant on the impact of caring responsibilities on the careers of women academics, neoliberal academia continues to minimize such struggles. Despite the disruptions to family routines caused by the health crisis, academic institutions have expected academic mothers and fathers to continue undertaking their professional responsibilities at the same level as before, disregarding their parenting demands. This paper contributes to the research on parenthood in academia by looking at how, throughout the pandemic, academic parents have negotiated the tensions between parenthood and academic demands, and by investigating the strategies they use to confront neoliberal culture of academic performativity, even amid the health crisis. The paper engages with the “space invaders” concept used by Puwar (2004) to analyze the “hypervisibility” of academic mothers' and fathers' “bodies out of place” during the pandemic, and to investigate their “renegade acts” against the uncaring attitudes of their institutions. Evidence is drawn from a qualitative study conducted during December 2020 and January 2021 among scholars affiliated to Portuguese academic institutions: 17 in-depth interviews conducted with women, and two mixed-gender focus groups.
The lockdown impact on the relations between Portuguese parents and their 1- to 3-year-old children during the COVID-19 pandemic

Frederica Vian; Rita Amaro; Sofia Vaz Pinto (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: Children
Many countries have applied mandatory confinement measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as school and kindergarten closures, which confined families to their homes. The study concerns the impacts of the first COVID-19 lockdown on the relationships between Portuguese parents and their children, in a non-clinical population composed of fathers and mothers of children between the ages of 12 months and 3 years and 364 days. An online questionnaire (set by the research team) and the Parenting Daily Hassles Scale (PDHS) concerning the confinement period were applied between 17 June and 29 July 2020. To assess the impacts of the lockdown, outcomes regarding the impacts perceived by the parents, the potential regression in the development of children, and the willingness to promote changes in family routines in the future, were considered.
Physical distancing and mental well-being in youth population of Portugal and Brazil during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jesus D. C. Gil; Pedro Manuel Vargues Aguiara; Sofia Azeredo-Lopes (et al.)

Published: July 2022   Journal: Portuguese Journal of Public Health
The COVID-19 pandemic may affect youth’s physical and mental well-being, partially because of the countries’ rules to contain the virus from spreading. However, there is still uncertainty about the impact of physical distancing on youth’s mental health. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of feeling agitated, anxious, down, sad, or low mood (FNF) due to physical distance measures and verify which factors are associated with young Portuguese and Brazilian people. It used cross-sectional data from the instrument “COVID-19 Barometer: Social Opinion” in Portugal (March 2020 and September 2021) and from “COVID-19 Social Thermometer” in Brazil (August 2020 to April 2021); these surveys included data regarding the health and socioeconomic impact on the population.
Lockdown practices: a portrait of young people in the family during the first lockdown in Portugal

Ana Sofia Ribeiro; Maria Manuel Vieira; Ana Nunes de Almeida

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Youth Studies
Governments introduced protective public health measures, including lockdowns and social distancing, in response to the unprecedented global crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. For young people, such measures are particularly painful, as they entail an interruption of their transitions to adulthood, which generally require taking up their position in the public space and emerging as a recognised social peer, either through leaving the parental home, initiating an intimate relationship or getting a full-time job. In Portugal, where such transitions are often postponed, and young people cohabit with parents for much longer, lockdown meant withdrawal from the public space and living in an intensive family collective. This brought many challenges and created tension. Based on the results of a non-representative online survey on the impacts of the pandemic in Portugal, this article focuses how young people aged 16–24 adapted to the 2020 lockdown, using the conceptual lens of familialism. The results show that familialism remains a key support system in adversity, evidencing intergenerational solidarity through everyday practices of resilience and (self-) care, renewing and remaking social bonds. Individual distancing practices are deployed backstage, however, mitigating and nuancing the overwhelming hold of familialism.
Parental violence before, during and after COVID-19 lockdown

Ricardo Barroso; Eduarda Ramião; Patrícia Figueiredo

Published: April 2022   Journal: Psicologia

It’s not clear if and how social distancing measures to  controlCOVID-19 transmission may result in more occurrences of child and adolescent abuse perpetrated by their parents. Information often comes from indirect estimates and media reports. More evidence  is needed from multiple sources, particularly from the potential victims. The aim of this study was to compare the proportion of violence perpetrated on  adolescents by their parents before, during and after the COVID-19 lockdown in Portugal. Three different samples with adolescents aged 12–18 years were collected before (n=1444), during(n=1427) and after(n=794) the lockdown and compared to verify variations concerning parental violence behaviors.

Physical activity time and intensity in physical education during the COVID-19 pandemic

Joana Lourenço; Catarina Rodrigues; Fábio Flôres (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Perceptual and motor skills
With the COVID-19 outbreak, schools have experienced difficulty providing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) to their students, which should normally account for at least 50% of children’s physical education (PE) class time. We aimed to determine the intensity of physical activity (PA) within PE classes at various grade levels to compare children’s in-class PA with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended guidelines. Thus, 301 students (1st to 12th grade) participated in the investigation. Children were evaluated during the PE classes with different typologies and durations.
Portuguese adolescents' cognitive well-being and basic psychological needs during the COVID-19 outbreak: a longitudinal study

Ana Meireles; Sofia Marques; Maria Manuela Peixoto (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Applied Psychology Health and Well-Being
Confinements and social distancing measures during COVID-19 pandemic were particularly challenging to adolescents, impacting significantly their life and routines. Following a longitudinal design, this study sought to compare adolescents' cognitive well-being—satisfaction with life, social support, and quality of life—before (T1) and during (T2) the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it aimed to clarify the predictive value of the three dimensions of the cognitive well-being to the satisfaction of basic psychological needs of adolescents at school at T2. One thousand ninety-nine Portuguese adolescents participated, showing generally increased scores in satisfaction with life, social support, and quality of life at T2. Even so, girls revealed lower changes in cognitive well-being components compared with boys, between T1 and T2.
Self-compassion and mindful parenting among postpartum mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic: the role of depressive and anxious symptoms

Daniela Ventura Fernandes; Maria Cristina Canavarro; Helena Moreira (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Current Psychology
Self-compassion is an important psychological skill that may facilitate the adoption of a mindful way of parenting, especially during the COVID‐19 pandemic. However, the association between these constructs may be explained by several variables, such as maternal psychopathological symptoms, with a well-established interference in parenting. This study aimed to compare mothers who experienced and mothers who did not experience a negative emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on self-compassion, mindful parenting, postpartum depressive symptoms (PPDS) and postpartum anxious symptoms (PPAS). We also explored whether mothers’ self-compassion was associated with mindful parenting and whether this relationship may be mediated by PPDS and PPAS. A sample of 977 Portuguese mothers of infants aged between zero and six months completed an online survey between December 2020 and January 2021, a period of major pandemic-related restrictions.
COVID-19: psychological symptoms and coping strategies in preschoolers, schoolchildren, and adolescents

Elisa Delvecchio; Mireia Orgilés; Alexandra Morales (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
The present study aimed to compare psychological symptoms and coping strategies in 1480 preschoolers, schoolchildren, and adolescents during home confinement due to COVID-19. It enrolled parents from Italy, Portugal, and Spain who completed a survey between the second and fourth week of lockdown. The results showed that preschoolers displayed more sleeping difficulties, temper tantrums, and dependency while adolescents' reactions were more related to COVID-19 worries and uncertainty. Schoolchildren showed more difficulty in concentrating. Adolescent girls showed higher anxiety levels than schoolchildren boys.
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