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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 42
Caregivers’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and their children’s behavior

AUTHOR(S)
Stephanie M. Reich; Melissa Dahlin; Nestor Tulagan (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
The COVID-19 pandemic has financial and emotional impacts on families. This study explored how caregivers’ financial strain and mental health are associated with changes in their young children’s behavior during the pandemic. It additionally considered whether having a sense of purpose moderated these associations. Caregivers (n = 300) in the emergency department of a children’s hospital were surveyed anonymously about changes to their employment (e.g., reduced/increased hours and job loss), ability to pay for expenses and whether their child’s behavior had changed. Aligned with the Family Stress Model, caregivers’ financial strain was associated with poor mental health, inconsistent sleep routines, and changes in children’s problematic and prosocial behaviors. A sense of purpose buffered some of these relationships. Families are differently affected by the pandemic and our findings underscore the need for supporting caregivers’ mental health and connecting them with resources.
Family relationship quality during the COVID-19 pandemic: the value of adolescent perceptions of change

AUTHOR(S)
Alexa Martin-Storey; Melanie Dirks; Brett Holfeld (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescence

Adolescents typically spend decreasing amounts of time with family members, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed this pattern for many youth. The objective of the current study was to better understand adolescents' perceived change in family relationship quality, and how these perceptions were related to psychosocial functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for more traditional measures of family relationship quality. Understanding how adolescents perceived change in relationship quality with family members during the pandemic offers novel insight into adolescents’ relationships with their families and psychosocial functioning during this period. A sample of Canadian adolescents (N = 605, ages 14 to 18, 53% girls), was employed to examine patterns of adolescents’ perceived change in relationship quality with parents and siblings since the start of the pandemic, accounting for relationship quality, pandemic-related characteristics, and demographic variables.

Changes to child snacking and parent feeding practices around snacking during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative exploration

AUTHOR(S)
Amanda Trofholz; Derek Hersch; Kristin Norderud (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Appetite
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about many changes that potentially altered the home food environment, which has been associated with child eating patterns and dietary intake. There is also some evidence that changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic are associated with health behaviors in children, such as an increased intake of high-calorie snack food. The current study aimed to more deeply understand how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the home food environment of meal and snack time routines and parent feeding practices within families of young children. Data for this study are taken from the Kids EAT! Study, a racially/ethnically diverse cohort of families with 2–5 year old children.
Care, coping, and connection under COVID-19: insights on couple relationships from a follow-up to the Bandebereho randomized controlled trial in Rwanda

AUTHOR(S)
Kate Doyle; Deboleena Rakshit; Ruti Levtov (et al.)

Institution: Promundo
Published: November 2021
The Care, Coping and Connection under COVID-19 report presents findings from a phone survey with 500 couples in Rwanda, examining the impact of the pandemic on stress, caregiving, and family relationships. The study builds on a randomized controlled trial of the Bandebereho intervention to examine the longer-term (five-year) impact of the intervention on participating families. The data suggest that while the pandemic has been hard on many families, Bandebereho participants have tended to fare better than those in the control group, suggesting long-lasting impacts of the intervention on key outcomes related to men’s engagement in care work and on couple and family relations.
The effects of COVID-19-related stress among parents and children in Ohio child care programs: a mixed-methods study

AUTHOR(S)
Kimberly Burkhart; Sonia Minnes; Owusua Yamoah (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Children's Health Care
COVID-19-related stress effects on the caregiver and child are largely unexplored. Caregivers (N = 114) of children between the ages of 3 months and 10 years accessing Ohio child care completed a parent survey (fall 2020), and additional caregivers (N = 20) completed an interview. Caregivers reported a mean of 70 (SD = 19; scale 1–100) on COVID-19-related stress. In adjusted regression models, higher caregiver-reported COVID-19-related stress was associated with increased odds of child aggression and poor social skills. Exploratory analyses indicated that these associations may be partly mediated by the caregiver working from home and losing their temper. Qualitative findings reflect caregiver COVID-19 stress and complement quantitative findings. Caregivers and children who experience COVID-19 stress should be monitored for persistent problems.
Family vulnerability, disruption, and chaos predict parent and child COVID-19 health-protective behavior adherence

AUTHOR(S)
Gregory M. Fosco; Emily J. LoBraico; Carlie J. Sloan (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Families, Systems, & Health
This study examined the role of family functioning in predicting family adherence to health-protective behaviors (HPBs) aimed at reducing COVID-19 spread. Pre-COVID-19 family functioning, disruptions to family functioning (cohesion, conflict, routines), and family chaos during the COVID-19 pandemic were tested as pathways to HPB adherence. A sample of N = 204 families was utilized, comprising parents who had children (MAge = 4.17). Parents (MAge = 27.43) completed one survey prior to COVID-19 onset in the United States, and twice during COVID-19, at a 2-week interval. Structural equation modeling was used to test three potential pathways between prepandemic family-level functioning and HPB adherence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Comparing the impact of the first and second wave of COVID-19 lockdown on Slovak families with typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorder

AUTHOR(S)
Katarína Polónyiová; Ivan Belica; Hana Celušáková (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Autism
The aim of this research was to compare the mental health of families with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or typically developing children, during the first and the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Slovakia. The study is mainly focused on the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress among the parents and maladaptive behavior or sleep disturbances of their children. This research sample consisted of 332 caregivers, 155 of which have children with autism spectrum disorder; 179 surveyed during the first wave and 153 during the second wave. Extensive online parent questionnaire was created, including demographic and specific topic–related questions; Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale–42 questionnaire; and two subscales of Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales—internalizing and externalizing maladaptive behavior.
Concerns and effects of COVID-19 in families with babies: results of a nationwide survey in Finland

AUTHOR(S)
J. Lammi-Taskula; R. Klemetti; M. Vuorenmaa (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Journal of Public Health,

The COVID-19 has changed the everyday life of families. The aim of this study was to examine the concerns and effects of the pandemic on the everyday life of families with babies. The data consist of mothers (n = 4550) and fathers (n = 2955) with 3-6-month-old babies who participated in the national FinChildren survey in autumn 2020. The results were analyzed separately for mothers and fathers according to the number of children. One-child parents were compared to parents with several children by logistic regression adjusted for parents' age, education and economic situation.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on families’ mental health: the role played by parenting stress, parents’ past trauma, and resilience

AUTHOR(S)
Eleonora Marzilli; Luca Cerniglia; Renata Tambelli (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
International research has evidenced the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families, and the key role played by parenting stress levels. Although significant associations with parents’ past trauma and resilience have been shown, this study aimed to explore their complex interplay on the relationship between parents’ peritraumatic distress due to COVID-19, parenting stress, and children’s psychopathological difficulties. We recruited 353 parents with children aged two to 16 years via an online survey during the Italian second wave of COVID-19. Parents’ peritraumatic distress due to COVID-19, parenting stress, past trauma and resilience, and children’s psychological difficulties were assessed through self-report and report-form questionnaires. Parents’ past traumas significantly predicted peritraumatic distress due to COVID-19 and children’s psychological difficulties. The relationship between past traumas and children’s psychological difficulties was serial mediated by parents’ peritraumatic distress and parenting stress. Direct and total effects of parent’s resilience on parent’s peritraumatic distress were not significant, but there were significant indirect effects via parenting stress and via parents’ peritraumatic distress and parenting stress, indicating inconsistent mediation.
Characteristics of pandemic work–life balance in Slovenian military families during the lockdown: who has paid the highest price?

AUTHOR(S)
Janja Vuga Beršnak; Živa Humer; Bojana Lobe (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Current Sociology
In April 2020, a survey was conducted among Slovenian military families, being one of the first surveys to be carried out in the country after the outbreak of the pandemic. The military was labeled a crucial institution in the efforts to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus and was appointed to various activities, leading to a considerable increase in its workload. The burden of care and unpaid work at that time also intensified, becoming shifted onto the military family, particularly civilian female spouses. The survey’s purpose was to measure how military families evaluated their success in balancing between working from home, household work, childcare, and home schooling during the pandemic lockdown. The risk factors were observed on the micro (i.e., lack of extended family support, institutional childcare, and school lockdown) and macro (i.e., military support, national support measures) social levels. The analysis reveals that when it comes to military families the greatest price has been paid by female civilian spouses. The number of children and their age influence parents’ self-evaluation of their success with work–life balance. The results show that big families and families with primary school children have been struggling the most during the lockdown. Surprisingly, dual-serving families felt the most successful.
Lessons learned in COVID-19: mothers with problematic substance use and involvement with child protective services need support to promote family well-being

AUTHOR(S)
Hanna Valeriote; Karen Milligan

Published: September 2021   Journal: Community, Work & Family
The universal experience of COVID-19 and its associated public health response presents an opportunity to see inequities that exist within our population when accessing community services and supports. This article casts a spotlight on one group who is at risk for experiencing such inequity: women with problematic substance use who are pregnant or parenting. Motherhood offers an opportunity for development of the self, child and family and can be pivotal in helping women to address challenges they and their family may be experiencing. This is a shared opportunity and requires communities to see these families in their complexity of strengths and needs and to support them on this journey. The pandemic has uncovered inequities in our systems of care and barriers faced by families. As the pandemic situation improves, citizens and communities must resist the temptation to push aside the evidence of social disparity and challenge and engage in social action and change.
Grandparents’ Mental Health and Lived Experiences while Raising Their Grandchildren at the Forefront of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia

AUTHOR(S)
Nazik M .A. Zakari; Hanadi Y. Hamadi; Chloe E. Bailey (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Gerontological Social Work
Understanding grandparents’ lived experiences and healthy aging is essential to designing efficient, effective, and safe services to support a family structure in which grandparents care for their grandchildren. However, no study to date has explored this concept in an Arab and Muslim country during a pandemic. The purpose of this study was to examine grandparents’ experiences raising their grandchildren to provide recommendations for needed mental health interventions during and after COVID-19. To gain a detailed and in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of 15 grandparents caring for their grandchildren a phenomenological approach was usewd. This study shows the need for support service interventions (support groups, health professional support, and respite care) for grandparents in Saudi Arabia, especially during global crises like COVID-19, that enhance social distance and social isolation. Raising grandchildren affects the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the grandparents.
Pandemic-related parental distress: examining associations with family meals and child feeding practices during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Caroline E. West; Clarissa V. Shields; Kara V. Hultstrand (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Children's Health Care
The present study examined associations between COVID-19-related negative impact and parental distress and aspects of the home food environment. Parents (N= 189) of children ages 7–17 completed an online survey assessing COVID-19-related impact and distress, household meals, feeding practices, and weight concern. Results suggested an inverse association between impact and distress and structured meals and positive associations with both restrictive feeding practices and weight concern. Food insecurity significantly moderated the association between impact and structured meals and remains a necessary target for intervention. Future research should explore factors that may mitigate the impact of COVID-19-related distress on the home food environment.
Family disruption and parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Kammy K. Schmeer; Britt Singletary; Kelly M. Purtell (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
Using unique data from an economically and racially diverse sample of 448 caregivers with young children (ages 4–9 years) in Ohio, this study assesses multiple sources of family social and economic disruptions and their associations with parenting activities during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Caregivers reported extensive social and economic challenges during this time, while also increasing (on average) their time spent in play/learning activities. Time spent in discipline was less likely to increase during this period.
How parents share and limit their child’s access to information about COVID-19: a mixed methods online survey study

AUTHOR(S)
Marla A. Garcia de Avila; Bernie Carter; Lucy Blake (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Child Health Care
This study aimed to understand the role that parents play in sharing or limiting their child’s access to information about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A subset of data from an international mixed methods online survey study was analysed to elucidate the findings from Brazil. An online survey, conducted between April and June 2020, gathered closed and open text views from parents of children aged 7–12 years old. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative open text data were analysed using the three stages of the Bardin content analysis framework: pre-analysis (data organisation and initial full-content reading); exploration of the material (thematic coding to identify major motifs and develop thematic categories) and interpretation (treating the data as significant and valid). The sample consisted of 112 (89%) mothers and 14 (11%) fathers. The analysis of the parents open text resulted in two categories: ‘How parents share information with their children about COVID-19’ and ‘How parents limit information to their children about COVID-19’. Some parents reported adopting an honest and open approach on how they shared information with their children, whilst some parents chose to minimise their child’s access to information about the pandemic over concerns of the mortality related to COVID-19.
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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.