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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Child flourishing, school engagement, physical activity and screen time during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Wei Lyu; George L. Wehby

Published: January 2023   Journal: ACADEMIC PEDIATRICS
This study aims to examine changes in flourishing, school engagement, physical activity, and recreational screen time among school-aged children in the United States during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. In this cross-sectional study, data come from the 2018–2020 National Survey of Children's Health for 68,203 children aged 6 to 17 years. Flourishing is always/usually curious to learn, resilient and having self-regulation. School engagement is always/usually completing homework and having interest in doing well in school. Other outcomes are daily 60+ minutes physical activity or number of such days, and daily recreational screen time or 2+ hours/day. Weighted regression models compare 2020 to 2019 and 2019 to 2018 adjusting for child/household covariates and state indicators.
Children and adolescents' positive youth development qualities and internet addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal study in China

Zhuo Wang; Binxue Hong; Yanyan Zhang (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Recent studies have shown that the qualities of children and adolescents’ positive youth development (PYD) enable them to cope with developmental challenges in an adaptive manner and maintain healthy functioning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a lack of reporting on changes in children and adolescents’ PYD qualities and Internet addiction and their relationship. This study investigated the association between PYD qualities and Internet addiction among the children and adolescents who have experienced the COVID-19 lockdown. A school-based cohort survey was launched in December 2019 (Wave 1, before COVID-19 lockdown) and followed up in June 2020 (Wave 2, after COVID-19 lockdown). The Chinese PYD scale (80 items, scoring 80–480) and Young’s Internet addiction test (20 items, scoring 20–100) were used to evaluate the children and adolescents’ PYD qualities and the degree of their Internet addiction, respectively. Cross-sectional regressions, longitudinal regressions, and cross-lagged panel model were used to examine the association between PYD qualities and Internet addiction.

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: pan-Canadian perspectives from parents and caregivers of youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities

Ash Seth; Brittany Finlay; Genevieve Currie (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Health Care
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDD) and their families. Although health measures were implemented to contain the COVID-19 virus, they disrupted public service, profoundly impacting youth and their families’ access to services. This study sought to better understand the perspectives and experiences of parents and caregivers of youth with NDD across Canada in accessing services and their mental health needs during the pandemic. The study used a qualitative research design in which 40 parents and caregivers across Canada were interviewed.
A win-win for all of us: COVID-19 sheds light on the essentialness of child care as key infrastructure

Owusua Yamoah; Sarah Balser; Callie Ogland-Hand (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Early Childhood Research Quarterly
Child care centers in the United States allow many parents and caregivers to work in and outside of the home and support the growth and development of children. Child care closures and COVID-19 mitigation measures at the onset of the pandemic heightened the need for and awareness of the role of child care as core infrastructure. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceived role and benefits of child care based on the lived experiences of parents/caregivers and staff navigating child care during the pandemic. It conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with parents/caregivers (n = 20) of children who attended child care and staff (n = 12) who were working at child care programs in Ohio from September to November 2020. Qualitative data were coded and analyzed through the lens of four frameworks (i.e., capabilities, developmental, economics, and mutualism) related to child well-being.
Mother-infant emotional availability through the COVID-19 pandemic: examining continuity, stability, and bidirectional associations

Nila Shakiba; Gal Doron; Avigail Gordon-Hacker (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Infancy
The COVID-19 pandemic may impact the development of infants' social communication patterns with their caregivers. The current study examined continuity, stability, and bidirectional associations in maternal and infant dyadic Emotional Availability (EA) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 110 Israeli mother-infant dyads (51% girls) that were assessed prior to (Mage = 3.5 months) and during (Mage = 12.4 months) the pandemic.
Neural selectivity for faces in human infants after pandemic lockdown

Tristan Yates; Cameron Ellis; Nicholas Turk-Browne

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Vision
The role of visual experience in the development of face processing has long been debated. Deprivation studies in non-human primates and studies of adults with congenital blindness have yielded mixed results. This study pursued a different angle on this question through a serendipitous study that can never be repeated. It relyed on a classic fMRI repetition suppression design from adult cognitive neuroscience to study the representation of facial identity in infants. Namely, the adult fusiform face area (FFA) tends to show reduced neural activity when the identity of a face is repeated compared to when a novel identity is presented, suggesting that beyond responding to faces, FFA can tell identities apart.
Face processing in the infant brain after pandemic lockdown

Tristan S. Yates; Cameron T. Ellis; Nicholas B. Turk-Browne

Published: December 2022   Journal: Developmental Psychobiology
The role of visual experience in the development of face processing has long been debated. We present a new angle on this question through a serendipitous study that cannot easily be repeated. Infants viewed short blocks of faces during fMRI in a repetition suppression task. The same identity was presented multiple times in half of the blocks (repeat condition) and different identities were presented once each in the other half (novel condition). In adults, the fusiform face area (FFA) tends to show greater neural activity for novel versus repeat blocks in such designs, suggesting that it can distinguish same versus different face identities.
Understanding disruptions to children's patterns of occupation and forms of occupational engagement during COVID-19 in Greece: an exploratory study

Sofia Zogogianni; Gail Whiteford; Panagiotis Siaperas

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Occupational Science

Occupational engagement and participation is considered essential for children’s health, development, and social connectedness. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing government ordered restrictions in Greece, school aged children’s patterns of occupational engagement were altered. The purpose of this study was to explore the ways in which restrictions disrupted school aged children’s occupational patterns and the ways in which they engaged in chosen occupations in Greece during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020. Two hundred and seventy-five children aged 6- to 12-years old completed the Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment (CAPE) online. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics to identify how the patterns of occupation and forms of occupational engagement changed during the COVID-19 related restrictions and whether age or gender could be correlated to any altered patterns identified.

Children's spaces in pages: examining spatiality in COVID-19-themed children's books

Aireen Grace Andal

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Literacy
This article examines spatiality in selected children’s books about COVID-19. Spatiality is an important lens because the coronavirus pandemic is a crisis related to distancing and mobility restrictions—spatial matters. Benedict Anderson’s notion of imagined communities was adopted as a framework to how children’s books present community belongingness within the spatial restrictions imposed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a content analysis of pandemic-related children’s books published in early 2020 (n = 51), this paper explores the sense of community in three everyday spaces: ‘inside’ (home), ‘outside’ (outdoors), and ‘in-betweens’ (windows and digital space).
Impact of distance learning in an online environment on physical performance in high school boys

Daniela Simeonova; Andrey Shalev

Published: December 2022   Journal: International Scientific Congress Applied Sports Sciences
One of the tasks of physical education in the different grades of the Bulgarian school is the purposeful development of motor skills and achieving an optimal level of physical activity for every age group. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a change in the way students are taught and the conduct of their physical education classes. In this regard, the aim of this research is to reveal the impact of one year of training in an online environment on the physical fitness of high school students. To achieve this goal, this research was conducted twice (at the beginning and end of the 2021/2022 school year) and tested 39 students (boys) from the “Peter Beron” high school for foreign language teaching - the city of Montana. It conducted the research through the national system for evaluating the physical fitness of students, which includes the tests of running 30 meters, long jump from a place with both feet, throwing a solid ball, running 200 meters shuttle run, and T-test. It applied a variation and comparative analysis to the data from the two tests.
Children's engineering identity development within an at-home engineering program during COVID-19

Amber Simpson; Peter N. Knox

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research
The culture of engineering and the culture of formal learning environments often make it difficult for individuals to develop an engineering identity. Conversely, recent research points to the home environment as an alternative setting to support disciplinespecific identity development of children, while less is known regarding the identity development of children as engineers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the development of children’s engineering identity through the co-creation of engineering concepts and engagement with engineering design thinking and processes with family members in home environments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trajectories of child growth, child development, and home child-rearing quality during the Covid pandemic in rural Nepal

Laurie C. Miller; Sumanta Neupane; Neena Joshi (et al.)

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

Children, especially disadvantaged children in poor countries, were expected to be among the “biggest victims” of the Covid pandemic. Economic burdens, decreased nutritious foods, reduced medical care, school closures, and ill-health or death of family members were predicted to increase child undernutrition and developmental delays, and diminish home child-rearing quality. A planned nutrition intervention could not be implemented due to Covid restrictions. However, three surveys (pre-Covid [December 2019], July 2021, and September 2021) in 280 Nepali households (309 parent-dyads, 368 children, 6–66 months old) collected demographics, child anthropometry and development (Ages and Stages Questionnaire-3 [ASQ-3]), and home child-rearing quality (caregiver engagement, learning resources, adult supervision [UNICEF's Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey]). Mixed-effect regression models adjusted for household (wealth, maternal education) and child factors (age, gender) and survey round.

Elective home education of children with neurodevelopmental conditions before and after the COVID-19 pandemic started

Laura Paulauskaite; Amanda Timmerman; Athanasia Kouroupa (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
COVID-19 brought disruptions to children’s education and mental health, and accelerated school de-registration rates. This study investigated Elective Home Education (EHE) in families of children with a neurodevelopmental condition. A total of 158 parents of 5–15 year-old children with neurodevelopmental conditions (80% autistic) provided information on reasons for de-registration, their experience of EHE, and children’s mental health.
It's time to talk fathers: The impact of paternal depression on parenting style and child development during the COVID-19 pandemic

Joshua Paul Roberts; Rose-Marie Satherley; Jane Iles

Published: November 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
This study aimed to understand the relationship between paternal depression, parenting behavior and child developmental outcomes during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) pandemic. In addition, the paternal experience of the pandemic, such as the impact of lockdowns, was explored. Fathers of children aged 6–11 years old (n = 87) were recruited for an online cross-sectional survey. Data was collected through questionnaires and open-ended comments. Regression analysis indicated a higher level of self-reported depressive symptomology in fathers more severely impacted by the pandemic across financial, familial and health domains. Further, COVID-19 impact, but not paternal depression, was linked to fewer authoritative parenting behaviors, characterized as lower warmth and responsiveness. Paternal pandemic impact and depression symptoms were independently predictive of child cognitive scores, and both were associated with emotional and behavioral outcomes.
"The internet is keeping me from dying from boredom": understanding the management and social construction of the self through middle-class Indian children's engagement with digital technologies during the COVID-19 lockdown

Damanjit Sandhu; Ravinder Barn

Published: November 2022   Journal: International Journal on Child Maltreatment: Research, Policy and Practice
This paper unpacks how everyday lives of urban middle-class children were mediated by digital technologies during the COVID-19 national lockdown in India. In contemporary India, children’s engagements with digital technologies are structured by their social class, gender, and geographical locations. The resultant disparities between “media-rich” and “media-poor” childhoods in India are stark. This paper argues that the national lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic exposed India’s “media-rich” children to particular threats and obstacles. Based on semi-structured interviews and mapping exercises with 16- to 17-year-old urban middle-class young people, it explores how being confined to their homes for an extended period when their schools shifted to online delivery of teaching and learning; young people negotiated risks and sought digital opportunities in the management and social construction of the self.
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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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