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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Adolescent drug use before and during U.S. national COVID-19 social distancing policies

Richard Miech; Megan E. Patrick; Katherine Keyes (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence

How adolescent substance use and perceived availability of substances have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic remain largely unknown. Substantial reduction in availability of substances would present a unique opportunity to consider the supply-side hypothesis that reductions in drug availability will lead to reductions in drug prevalence. Longitudinal data come from Monitoring the Future and are based on responses from 582 adolescents who were originally surveyed as part of a national sample of 12th grade students in early 2020, one month before social distancing policies began. They were surveyed again after social distancing policies were implemented, in the summer of 2020.

The views of children in residential care on the COVID-19 lockdown: implications for and their well-being and psychosocial intervention

Carme Montserrat; Marta Garcia-Molsosa; Joan Llosada-Gistau (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Recent international research has warned of the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on vulnerable children. However, little is known regarding the in-care population. This cross-sectional study aims too find out how children in residential care perceived the influence of the COVID-19 lockdown in their everyday life, relationships and subjective well-being. 856 children from 10 to 17 years old (Mage = 15.5, males = 71.2%, females = 28.8%) living in residential centres in Catalonia responded to an on-line questionnaire administered between June and July 2020. Bivariate analysis and multiple linear regression were used comparing the answers by sex.

Adolescents emotional state and behavioral and dietary habit changes during isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Denise Tavares Giannini; Cristiane Murad Tavares; Marcia Takey (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Journal of the American College of Nutrition

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. As an infectious disease with no specific treatment, several measures have been established to minimize the outbreak of this disease, including social isolation. To evaluate the behavior of adolescents during the isolation period. This is a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted at the Adolescent Health Studies Center. Data were obtained from a questionnaire prepared on Google Forms, sent by a multiplatform instant messaging application, and analyzed using the Stata 14 software.


Sedentary behavior among 6–14-year-old children during the COVID-19 lockdown and its relation to physical and mental health

Rima Breidokiene; Roma Jusiene; Vaidotas Urbonas

Published: June 2021   Journal: Healthcare
As a result of the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 and consequent restrictions in spring 2020, children in many countries might be engaged in more sedentary behavior and have limited possibilities to access the necessary level of physical activity to maintain their physical and mental health. The aim of this study was to explore the relationships between child sedentary behavior, physical activity, mental and physical health, and parental distress in a sample of Lithuanian children aged 6–14 years during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March–June 2020. Parents of 306 children (52.9% female) completed an online survey in May–June 2020 and reported on their children’s screen time for educational and recreational (leisure) purposes, the level of physical activity and time outdoors, somatic symptoms, and emotional well-being and behavior. Parents also reported on stressful life events in the family and personal distress.
Examining the impact of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic period on youth cannabis use: adjusted annual changes between the pre-COVID and initial COVID-lockdown waves of the COMPASS study

Scott T. Leatherdale; Richard E. Bélanger; Rabi Joël Gansaonré (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: BMC Public Health
Given the high rates of cannabis use among Canadian youth and that adolescence is a critical period for cannabis use trajectories, the purpose of this paper was to examine the effect of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic period on youth cannabis use in the context of a natural experiment.
Young people and COVID-19: Behavioural considerations for promoting safe behaviours
Institution: World Health Organisation
Published: June 2021
In the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response, WHO identifies young people as a priority target audience with specific concerns, experiences and behaviours. This policy brief provides relevant insights from behavioural evidence and a set of behavioural considerations for those promoting COVID-19 preventive behaviours among young people. Designers of programmes and initiatives targeting youth may find it helpful to refer to the youth-specific barriers and drivers identified in this policy brief and to prioritize these for testing when planning initiatives targeted at young people.
Women’s perceptions about changes in food-related behaviors at home during COVID-19 pandemic in Chile

María-Fernanda Jara; Barbara Leyton; Carla Cuevas (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Public Health Nutrition

This paper aims to explore women’s perceptions of changes in specific food habits at home, specifically the food budget and shopping, and food preparation, during the COVID-19 period. Non-probabilistic, exploratory study. Participants completed an online self-administered questionnaire. Perceptions of food habit changes were measured on a five-point Likert scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree). Data analysis was conducted in STATA v16.0.

Longitudinal associations between child weight change, the home food environment, and child feeding practices during COVID-19

Elizabeth Adams; Laura Caccavale; Danyel Smith (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Current Developments in Nutrition
Lifestyle changes during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may result in child weight gain thus increasing obesity risk. Weight gain during COVID-19 may be, in part, be due to changes in the home food environment and child feeding practices; yet longitudinal studies have not examined these relations. This study describes patterns of child weight change, the home food environment, and child feeding practices across two timepoints during COVID-19.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 5 | Issue: Supplement 2 | No. of pages: 1 | Language: English | Topics: Health, Nutrition | Tags: behavioural change, child health, child nutrition, COVID-19 response, lockdown, obesity, social distance
Associations between parenting stress, feeding practices, and child eating behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lupita Gonzalez; Alison Ventura

Published: June 2021   Journal: Current Developments in Nutrition
The pandemic provides an opportunity to explore how parenting stress during times of crisis may predict parent-child interactions, especially during mealtimes. The objective of the present study was to explore whether parents’ perceived increases in and overall levels of parenting stress during the pandemic were associated with feeding practices and perceptions of child eating behaviors.
A world through glass: a narrative around the family experiences during the confinement of COVID-19

Gustavo González-Calvo; Marta Arias-Carballal

Published: June 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, and the world has witnessed significant changes since then. Spain has been forced to go into extreme lockdown, cancelling all school classes and outdoor activities for children. Our study explores how parents of a group of school children aged 7 to 8 years have experienced confinement due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Following a narrative methodology, the results have been organized around a story that takes as a reference the period of confinement for a mother and worker in times of confinement. The conclusions of our study suggest that participants have experienced significant changes in their routines, having faced numerous personal and professional dilemmas in a climate of great emotional burden. This study is the first of its kind in investigating how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the ways that children and their families live and its possible implications for their futures.
COVID-19 and behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder: disparities by income and food security status

Anita A. Panjwania; Regan L. Bailey; Bridgette L.

Published: June 2021   Journal: Research in Developmental Disabilities

Research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is lacking. This study investigates the relationship between COVID-19 and behaviors of children with ASD living in the United States.

From the pandemic to the pan: the impact of COVID19 on parental inclusion of children in cooking activities – a cross-continental survey

Tony Benson; Blain Murphy; Amanda McCloat (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Public Health Nutrition

This study aimed to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on time spent cooking and parental inclusion of children in cooking. A secondary aim was to investigate differences between those who frequently included their children in cooking activities during the COVID-19 pandemic and those that included their children less, on a number of factors such as working from home, parents’ diet quality and cooking skills confidence. Cross-continental survey with Wilcoxon signed ranks, Independent t-tests, Mann Whitney-U, Chi2, and a binomial logistic regression used for assessment.

Impact of COVID-19 on lifestyle habits and mental health symptoms in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in Canada

Rose Swansburg; Tasmia Hai; Frank P. MacMaster (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Paediatrics & Child Health
The COVID-19 pandemic created an environment of restricted access to health and recreation services. Lifestyle habits including sleep, eating, exercise, and screen use were modified, potentially exacerbating adverse mental health outcomes. This study investigates the impact of COVID-19 on lifestyle habits and mental health symptoms in paediatric attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Canada.
Changes in emotional-behavioral functioning among pre-school children following the initial stage Danish COVID-19 lockdown and home confinement

Ina Olmer Specht; Jeanett Friis Rohde; Ann-Kristine Nielsen (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Unintended negative outcomes on child behavior due to lockdown and home confinement following the corona virus disease (COVID-19) pandemic needs highlighting to effectively address these issues in the current and future health crises. In this sub-study of the ODIN-study, the objectives were to determine whether the Danish lockdown and home confinement following the COVID-19 pandemic affected changes in emotional-behavioral functioning of pre-school-aged children using the validated Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) answered by parents shortly before lockdown and 3 weeks into lockdown, and moreover, to examine whether baseline family and social characteristics could predict change in child emotional-behavioral functioning during lockdown.
The interplay between maternal childhood maltreatment, parental coping strategies as well as endangered parenting behavior during the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Franziska Köhler-Dauner; Vera Clemens; Katherina Hildebrand (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Developmental Child Welfare
The SARS-CoV-2-pandemic is associated different challenges, especially for families. The disruption and challenges require parents to develop strategies to cope with the current situation. One factor that may influence how parents deal with pandemic-associated stressors are experiences of parental childhood maltreatment (CM), which represent a high risk of engaging in endangered parenting. A decisive candidate for the connection between parental CM and the transgenerational transmission could be the parental ability to employ coping strategies. Mothers of a well-documented birth cohort for investigating the pathways leading to resilience or vulnerability in the transgenerational transmission of CM were imbedded in an online “SARS-CoV-2 pandemic survey” assessing maternal ability for coping strategies and the dimension of endangered maternal parenting behavior. 91 mothers completed the online survey.
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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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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.