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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Young children's traumatic stress reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic: the long reach of mothers' adverse childhood experiences

Melissa J. Hagan; Danielle R. Roubinov; Alana Cordeiro (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted parental and child mental health; however, it is critical to examine this impact in the context of parental histories of adversity. this study hypothesized that maternal adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and pandemic-related negative life events would predict child traumatic stress symptoms (TSS) and tested potential mediating pathways through maternal pandemic-related TSS and/or poorer maternal sensitivity during the pandemic. Data were collected from a longitudinal sample of low-income, racially/ethnically diverse mothers and their children. Between May and November 2020, mothers (n = 111) of young children (M age = 7.42 years, SD = 0.45) completed questionnaires to assess their own and their child's pandemic-related TSS, exposure to pandemic-related negative events, and parent-child relationship quality. Maternal ACEs, maternal depression, parent-child relationship quality, and child internalizing symptoms had been assessed approximately 1–3 years prior.

Location matters: Regional variation in association of community burden of COVID-19 with caregiver and youth worry

Andrew T. Marshall; Daniel A. Hackman; Eric Kan (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: Health & Place
This study characterized associations between three indicators of COVID-19's community-level impact in 20 geographically diverse metropolitan regions and how worried youth and their caregivers in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development℠ Study have been about COVID-19. County-level COVID-19 case/death rates and monthly unemployment rates were geocoded to participants’ addresses. Caregivers’ (vs. youths’) COVID-19-related worry was more strongly associated with COVID-19's community impact, independent of sociodemographics and pre-pandemic anxiety levels, with these associations varying by location. Public-health agencies and healthcare providers should avoid adopting uniform “one-size-fits-all” approaches to addressing COVID-19-related emotional distress and must consider specific communities’ needs, challenges, and strengths.
Student and school characteristics associated with COVID-19-related learning decline among middle and high school students in K-12 schools

Holly H. Fisher; Georgianne T. Hawkins; Marci Hertz (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Journal of School Health

COVID-19-disrupted schools, including shifts to virtual learning which may have impacted academic progress. This study assessed characteristics associated with changes in academic grades (before and during the pandemic) for different learning modalities for US students ages 13-19. Students (N = 2152) completed a web survey on school-related experiences during the 2020-2021 school year. County social vulnerability and SARS-CoV-2 transmission data were merged with survey data. Multivariable logistic regression analysis for grade change was conducted with student and school characteristics for each learning modality, controlling for community characteristics.

Cultivating compassion for self and others: a school-based pilot study for peer-nominated caring adolescents

Blake A. Colaianne; Brooke D. Lavelle; Meg L. Small (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Journal of Research on Adolescence
Many have called for school-based student programs that teach skills related to self-care and caring for others. Here, such a program for peer-nominated adolescents was developed and piloted virtually at one high school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results of a longitudinal, quasi-experimental evaluation of the program showed high-quality program implementation and promising program impacts. Effect sizes indicated moderate to large program impacts on improvements in adolescents' self-compassion, sense of interdependence, and perspective-taking, and female adolescents' interoceptive awareness, compared to controls. No group differences in compassion for others were found. The need for more research on programs that help adolescents balance compassion for the self and for others is discussed.
Binge-eating behaviors in adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic

Melissa Freizinger; Grace B. Jhe; Suzanne E. Dahlberg (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Journal of Eating Disorders

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent public health measures have resulted in a worsening of eating disorder symptoms and an increase in psychological distress. The present study examined symptoms and behaviors in adolescents and young adults with emotional eating, bingeing behaviors and binge eating disorder during the pandemic. Additionally, the study explored if individuals who experienced pandemic-related food availability and food affordability issues experienced increased binge-eating symptoms and negative feelings. Participants (n = 39) were a convenience sample who participated between November 2020 and January 2021 in a weight and lifestyle management program at an urban New England pediatric hospital. Participants completed online surveys that assessed (1) participant’s exposure to COVID-19 related stress and binge-eating behaviors using the COVID-19 Exposure and Family Impact Survey-Adolescent and Young Adult Version (CEFIS-AYA) and the Binge Eating Scale (BES) respectively, (2) participants’ and their families’ ability to attain and afford food and its association with bingeing behaviors, and (3) the relationship between food availability and affordability and negative emotions.

The COVID‐19 pandemic, mask‐wearing, and emotion recognition during late‐childhood

Maia Chester; Rista C. Plate; Tralucia Powell (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Social Development
Face masks are an effective and important tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including among children. However, occluding parts of the face can impact emotion recognition, which is fundamental to effective social interactions. Social distancing, stress, and changes to routines because of the pandemic have also altered the social landscape of children, with implications for social development. To better understand how social input and context impact emotion recognition, the current study investigated emotion recognition in children (7–12 years old, N = 131) using images of both masked and unmasked emotional faces.
Family communication patterns and parents' intentions to vaccinate their child against COVID-19

Nichole Egbert; Ying Zhu; Mina Choi (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Health Communication
This study explored how family communication patterns relate to parental knowledge about COVID-19, vaccine confidence, and intentions to vaccinate their children. Parents from 4 states (Ohio, New York, Georgia, and Texas; n = 702) completed an online survey in March 2021.
Patterns in mental health symptomatology and cigarette, e-cigarette and marijuana use among Texas youth and young adults amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Stephanie L. Clendennen; Baojiang Chen; Aslesha Sumbe (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Nicotine & Tobacco Research

This study examined patterns in mental health symptomatology and smoking and vaping behaviors among youth and young adults over a 1-year period from before to during the first year of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Participants (n = 2148) were 16–24-year-olds who completed three waves of the Texas Adolescent Tobacco and Marketing Surveillance Study (TATAMS). Descriptive statistics and mixed effects logistic regression models were used to examine changes in anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and cigarette, e-cigarette, and marijuana use from before COVID-19 (fall 2019) to 6-month follow-up (spring 2020) and 12-month follow-up (fall 2020) periods during COVID-19. Longitudinal associations between mental health symptomatology and smoking and vaping were examined.

Work and family disadvantage: determinants of gender gaps in paid work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Yasmin A. Mertehikian; Pilar Gonalons-Pons

Published: August 2022   Journal: Socius
This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the increase in gender inequality in paid work during the pandemic to unpack the relative relevance of labor market and work-family conflict processes. Using panel data from the United States Current Population Survey, we examine four mechanisms in an integrated analysis that explicitly includes singleparent households and assesses the moderating role of women’s economic position relative to their partners.
Family strengthening in the context of COVID-19: adapting a community-based intervention from Kenya to the United States

Eve S. Puffer; Savannah L. Johnson; Kaitlin N. Quick (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Prevention Science
COVID-19 led to widespread disruption of services that promote family well-being. Families impacted most were those already experiencing disparities due to structural and systemic barriers. Existing support systems faded into the background as families became more isolated. New approaches were needed to deliver evidence-based, low-cost interventions to reach families within communities. This research adapted a family strengthening intervention developed in Kenya (“Tuko Pamoja”) for the United States.

The impact of stay-at-home regulations on adolescents' feelings of loneliness and internalizing symptoms

Marielena Barbieri; Evelyn Mercado

Published: August 2022   Journal: Journal of Adolescence

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the daily social lives of adolescents by severely limiting social interactions which likely heightened levels of loneliness and a variety of internalizing symptoms. However, little is known about how social distancing adherence and subsequent stress caused by the novel social regulations impact adolescents' feelings of loneliness, and later mental health difficulties, including anxiety and depression. To close this gap, this study examined the impact of social distancing regulations on adolescents' (N = 79; Mage = 16.16, SD = 1.15; 47 females; 23 males) depression and anxiety symptoms through loneliness by using data from a 5-week longitudinal study conducted on adolescents in the United States during the initial phases of COVID-19.

Mental-health trajectories of U.S. parents with young children during the COVID-19 pandemic: a universal introduction of risk

Maureen Zalewski; Sihong Liu; Philip A. Fisher (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Clinical Psychological Science
Parents of young children were a subgroup of the population identified early in the pandemic as experiencing significant mental-health symptoms. Using a longitudinal sample of 3,085 parents from across the United States who had a child or children age 0 to 5, in the present study, this study identified parental mental-health trajectories from April to November 2020 predicted by pre–COVID-19 cumulative risk and COVID-19-specific risk factors. Both growth-mixture modeling and latent-growth-curve modeling were used to test the relationship between risk factors and parent mental health.
Relationships among parenting stress and well-being, COVID-19 information management, and children's COVID-19 fear

Dianna Boone; Sarah Stromberg; Alyssa Fritz (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

During the COVID-19 pandemic, caregivers who are facing high stress levels and decreased emotional well-being may parent their children differently. Certain children are experiencing greater fear in response to COVID-19, and research is needed to identify parenting behaviors significantly linked with children's COVID-19 fear. The purpose of this article was to evaluate whether the association between parenting stress and children's COVID-19 fear could be explained by parents' COVID-19 information management and emotional well-being. Participants were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. The sample consisted of 595 caregivers of children during the COVID-19 pandemic; 40.0% men, 69.2% non-Latinx White, 12.1% Black, 10.1% Latinx, 6.6% Asian, and <2% others. Children had an average age of 11.3 years. Parents completed self-report measures.

I'm not perfect': navigating screen time among parents of young children during COVID-19

Erin Findley; Catherine A. LaBrenz; Saltanat Childress (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Child: Care, Health and Development

The use of screen time for young children has been hotly debated among experts. This study explored the utilization of screen time among mothers with young children during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this study was to understand maternal motivation for utilizing screen time and how mothers have engaged in screen time since the beginning of the pandemic. This paper uses a sample of n = 25 mothers who participated in an in-depth interview about parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team utilized a thematic analysis approach to qualitatively code the transcripts. All analyses were conducted in Dedoose 8.3, and all transcripts were coded by three independent researchers to enhance rigour.

Age-varying associations between Chinese American parents' racial–ethnic socialization and children's difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic

Huiguang Ren; Charissa S. L. Cheah; Xiaoli Zong (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Asian American Journal of Psychology
Parental racial–ethnic socialization (RES) can be an important resource for Chinese American youth as they navigate the highly racialized and Sinophobic context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This study used time-varying association models to examine Chinese American parents’ engagement in six types of racial–ethnic socialization (RES) practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and their associations with child difficulties across child ages 4–18 years and child gender. Five hundred Chinese American parents (Mage = 43.5 years, SD = 6.5; 79% mothers) with 4–18-year-old children (Mage = 11.7 years, SD = 3.9; 48% girls) reported on their RES practices and children’s adjustment difficulties. Parents’ use of maintenance of heritage culture and cultural pluralism RES did not vary for children at different ages, whereas they used more awareness of discrimination RES for older children than younger children.
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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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