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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Differentiated mental health patterns in pregnancy during COVID-19 first two waves in Sweden: a mixed methods study using digital phenotyping

AUTHOR(S)
Emma Fransson; Maria Karalexi; Mary Kimmel (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Scientific Reports
To utilize modern tools to assess depressive and anxiety symptoms, wellbeing and life conditions in pregnant women during the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden. Pregnant women (n = 1577) were recruited through the mobile application Mom2B. Symptoms of depression, anxiety and wellbeing were assessed during January 2020–February 2021. Movement data was collected using the phone’s sensor. Data on Google search volumes for “Corona” and Covid-related deaths were obtained. Qualitative analysis of free text responses regarding maternity care was performed. Two peaks were seen for depressive symptoms, corresponding to the two waves. Higher prevalence of anxiety was only noted during the first wave. A moderating effect of the two waves in the association of depression, anxiety, and well-being with Covid deaths was noted; positive associations during the first wave and attenuated or became negative during the second wave. Throughout, women reported on cancelled healthcare appointments and worry about partners not being allowed in hospital. The association of mental health outcomes with relevant covariates may vary during the different phases in a pandemic, possibly due to adaptation strategies on a personal and societal/healthcare level. Digital phenotyping can help healthcare providers and governmental bodies to in real time monitor high-risk groups during crises, and to adjust the support offered.
Increased incidence of overweight and obesity among preschool Swedish children during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Fäldt; Sahar Nejat; Sofia Edvinsson Sollander (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: European Journal of Public Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide effects on child health globally. Increased prevalence of childhood obesity has been observed by a number of countries during the pandemic. The absence of a formal societal lockdown during the pandemic, made Sweden stand out compared to other countries. This study aims to examine changes in BMI among preschool children in Sweden before and during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrospective population-based cross-sectional study, with longitudinal follow-up for a portion of the children. The study included 25 049 children from three Swedish regions, with growth measures at 3- (n = 16 237), 4- (n = 14 437) and 5-years of age (n = 11 711). Care Need Index was used as a socioeconomic parameter at health centre level.

COVID-19-related impact on mental health and career uncertainty in student-athletes—Data from a cohort of 7,025 athletes in an elite sport high school system in Sweden

AUTHOR(S)
Anders Håkansson; Karin Moesch; Göran Kenttä

Published: September 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Sports and Active Living

Mental health consequences and behavior change has been described in elite athletes following the vast impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of sports. However, most study samples have been of limited size, and few studies have assessed student-athletes. This study aimed to analyze perceived mental health impact, measured as clinical degree of depression and anxiety, worry about one's sport and about one's career, and behavioral change with respect to video gaming behavior, in high-school athletes in Sweden. Data on anxiety and depression as well as on perceived behavioral changes during COVID-19 were collected from students at sports high schools in Sweden (N = 7,025) in February 2021, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

School nurses' perspectives on health among school-aged children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Pernilla Garmy; Charlotta Rahr; Louise Persson (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: The Journal of School Nursing
The aim of this study was to investigate school nurses’ perspectives on students’ health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden in 2021. A cross-sectional survey design was used with school nurses (n = 225) working in schools in Sweden from elementary to upper secondary levels. The Clausson School Nurse Perception Questionnaire was used with two additional questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. The school nurses rated students’ physical health as very good or good in 78% of the cases and their mental health as very good or good in 64%. There was also a negative trend in mental health during the pandemic, especially among girls. School nurses working in vulnerable areas (i.e., areas with a high proportion of immigrants and those receiving financial assistance) rated students’ physical and mental health significantly worse compared other areas.
Parents with intellectual disability reporting on factors affecting their caregiving in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study

AUTHOR(S)
Tommie Forslund; Stina Fernqvist; Helena Tegler

Published: August 2022   Journal: Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Parents with intellectual disability are vulnerable to parenting stress and overwhelming life events. The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a potentially overwhelming event, but there is little knowledge concerning the effects on parents' caregiving. The present study aimed to fill this gap. Semi-structured interviews with 10 Swedish parents with intellectual disability were analysed using thematic analysis.

A qualitative serial analysis of drawings by thirteen-to fifteen-year-old adolescents in Sweden about the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Carol Tishelman; Johanna L. Degen; Sof´ıa Weiss Goitiand´ıa (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: Qualitative Health Research
This article explores the perspectives of 13–15-year-olds living in Sweden about the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, through inductive analysis of 187 of their drawings. Through reconstructive serial picture analysis, three types of meaning were derived: (1) A new normal in dystopian scenery points to the disruption of daily life and development of new praxis and meaning in a context of threat and restriction; (2) Disrupted relationships refers to these adolescents’ self-portrayal as solitary, without adult guidance or friends prominent; and (3) Negative emotions and compliant behaviors addresses a range of negative emotions and expressions of loss with few proactive strategies illustrated. General existential distress appears in these drawings, seemingly compounded by both developmental stage and other factors in addition to the pandemic context. Drawings suggest a restricted repertoire of ways of dealing with challenges confronting these adolescents, who seemed to feel left to their own resources.
No learning loss in Sweden during the pandemic evidence from primary school reading assessments.

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Eva Hallin; Henrik Danielsson; Thomas Nordstrom (et al.)

Published: June 2022   Journal: International Journal of Educational Research
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to worldwide school closures, with a risk of learning loss. Sweden kept primary schools open, but it is unknown whether student and teacher absence and pandemic-related stress factors affected teaching and student progress negatively. In this study, reading assessment data from 97,073 Swedish primary school students (grades 1-3) were analysed to investigate potential learning loss.
From epidemic to pandemic: effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on high school program choices in Sweden

AUTHOR(S)
Aino-Maija Aalto; Dagmar Müller; J. Lucas Tilley

Published: May 2022   Journal: IZA Discussion Paper
This study aims to determine whether the onset of the COVID-19 crisis affected the program choices of high school applicants in Sweden. The analysis exploits the fact that the admission process consists of two stages: a preliminary round in which applicants initially rank programs in order of preference and a final round in which they can alter their preliminary rankings. In 2020, the timing of the two rounds happened to provide a unique pre- and post-crisis snapshot of applicants' field-of-study choices. Using school-level data on applicants' top-ranked programs for all admission rounds between 2016 and 2020, this study implements a difference-in-differences method to identify the immediate effect of the crisis on demand for programs.
Swedish pupils' perspectives on emergency remote teaching during COVID-19: a qualitative study.

AUTHOR(S)
Noam Ringer; Susanne Kreitz-Sandberg

Published: May 2022   Journal: International Journal of Educational Research Open
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in many countries were forced to stop face-to-face teaching and switch to emergency remote teaching (ERT). The aim of this study, based on semi-structured interviews with upper secondary-school pupils in Stockholm, was to explore how Swedish pupils perceive their ERT and to understand their preconditions for learning. We found variations among pupils with regard to how they perceived their new morning routine, the increased flexibility in structuring their day, the flexibility to choose their workplace at home, and the decreased control by their teachers. While some perceived the increased flexibility as challenging, others appraised it as a possibility to be more independent. With regard to their classmates, all participants perceived difficulties learning from each other in ERT. Identified difficulties involved comparing one's performance to that of classmates, having deep discussions, encouraging each other, and organizing themselves in a group.
Experiences of children with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden: a qualitative interview study

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Erica Fäldt; Filippa Klint; Georgina Warner (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: BMJ Paediatrics Open

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disabilities has been described as a ‘triple jeopardy’. Not only have they experienced the negative social impacts of disease control measures, but access to required health services has been affected, and, not least, they are at increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. This study aimed to determine how children with disabilities have experienced the pandemic in Sweden and its impact on their lives.Six children (5–13 years) were interviewed via video conferencing. An interview guide was adapted based on the children’s communicative abilities and included augmentative and alternative communication support. Reflective field notes were included in the analysis. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Adolescent smoking, alcohol use, inebriation, and use of narcotics during the Covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Sabina Kapetanovic; Birgitta Ander; Sevtap Gurdal (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: BMC Psychology

The aim of the study was to investigate how general family relations, reported changes in family interaction and involvement with peers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and following rules and recommendations during the pandemic relate to adolescent smoking, alcohol use, inebriation, and use of narcotics during Covid-19. An online national survey of Swedish adolescents (n = 1818) aged 15–19 years was conducted in June 2020. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to predict adolescents’ reported change in substance use during the pandemic. Person-oriented analyses, were used to identify clusters of participants characterized by similar patterns of substance use following ANOVA analysis with Scheffe post hoc tests testing differences between clusters in terms of family relations, reported changes in family interaction and involvement with peers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and following rules and recommendations during the pandemic.

Large gaps in the quality of healthcare experienced by Swedish mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study based on WHO standards

AUTHOR(S)
Mehreen Zaigham; Karolina Linden; Verena Sengpie (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Women and Birth

To describe the quality of care during pregnancy and childbirth, as reported by the women themselves, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden, using the WHO ‘Standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn care in health facilities’. Using an anonymous, online questionnaire, women ≥18 years were invited to participate if they had given birth in Sweden from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The quality of maternal and newborn care was measured using 40 questions across four domains: provision of care, experience of care, availability of human/physical resources, and organisational changes due to COVID-19.

Experiences of stress: a focus group interview study among Swedish adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Moa Hörbo; Camilla Johansson; Tide Garnow (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Journal of school nursing
Adolescence can be a stressful period in life. The period contains challenges associated with the transition from childhood to adulthood (body changes, changes in interpersonal relationships, and identity changes). The aim was to investigate experiences of stress among adolescents in addition to stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Focus group interviews (n = 8) were conducted with girls (n = 22) and boys (n = 19) aged 13-15 in southern Sweden. The transcribed interviews were analyzed with qualitative content analysis. Analysis of the collected material resulted in two categories with four sub-categories each of which highlights adolescents' experiences of stress.
How children in Sweden accessed and perceived information during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Lise-Lott Rydström; Charlotte Ångström-Brännström; Lucy Blake (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health

This study aims to describe how children in Sweden accessed and perceived information about SARS-CoV2 and Covid-19 during the first phase of the outbreak. This study is a substudy of an international cross-sectional online mixed methods survey examining elements of children’s health literacy in relation to Covid-19. The survey included multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions and drawings and collected information from 50 Swedish children (7–12 years). Data were analysed concurrently on a descriptive level using statistics and content analysis. Quantitative and qualitative data, including the drawings, were considered equally important and resulted in six categories, illuminating how children accessed and perceived information about the pandemic.

Preterm birth after the introduction of COVID-19 mitigation measures in Norway, Sweden and Denmark: a registry-based difference-in-differences study

AUTHOR(S)
Laura L. Oakley; Anne K. Örtqvist; Jonas Kinge (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Although some studies have reported a decrease in preterm birth following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, findings are inconsistent. This study aimed to compare the incidence of preterm birth before and after the introduction of COVID-19 mitigation measures in Scandinavian countries, using robust population-based registry data.

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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.