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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 287
Heterogeneity in maternal and child mental health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Sumayya Saleem; Samantha Burns; Olesya Falenchuk (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Early Childhood Research Quarterly
This study used latent profile analysis on a longitudinal dataset to examine changes in maternal and child mental health during COVID-19 and factors that may protect against declines in mental health. Participants were 183 low-income mothers (M = 36 years) with young children (M = 5.31 years) in the City of Toronto with data collected prior to and during the pandemic in 2020. Mothers reported on their own stress, anxiety and depression and their children's emotional, conduct, hyperactivity, peer, and prosocial problems at both timepoints.
Mother and child hair cortisol during the COVID-19 pandemic: Associations among physiological stress, pandemic-related behaviors, and child emotional-behavioral health

Nicole B. Perry; Bonny Donzella; Michael F. Troy (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Psychoneuroendocrinology
The current study assessed the associations between pandemic-related stressors and physiological stress, as indexed by hair cortisol concentration (HCC), for mothers and their children (N = 180) aged 5–14-years old (M = 8.91). The associations between maternal HCC and children’s HCC and children’s behavioral adjustment were also examined. Mothers reported on COVID-19-related behaviors and children’s adjustment, and both mother and child participants collected and mailed hair samples between August and November of 2020.
Quality of facility-based maternal and newborn care around the time of childbirth during the COVID-19 pandemic: online survey investigating maternal perspectives in 12 countries of the WHO European Region

Marzia Lazzerini; Benedetta Covi; Ilaria Mariani (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: The Lancet Regional Health - Europe

Multi-country studies assessing the quality of maternal and newborn care (QMNC) during the COVID-19 pandemic, as defined by WHO Standards, are lacking. Women who gave birth in 12 countries of the WHO European Region from March 1, 2020 - March 15, 2021 answered an online questionnaire, including 40 WHO Standard-based Quality Measures.

The impact of COVID-19 on experiences of pregnancy and/or early parenting in Chile

Marcia Olhaberry; Catalina Sieverson; Pamela Franco

Published: December 2021   Journal: Infant Mental Health Journal

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has impacted families’ mental health around the globe. In June 2020, 1163 parents of high (43%), middle (47%), and low socioeconomic status (SES) (10%) participated in an online survey developed to explore how daily life changes and restrictions that came with COVID-19 affected the experiences of pregnancy and/or parenting children under the age of 5 in Chile. The survey's design had an exploratory and descriptive scope, with a mix of qualitative and quantitative questions. With the aim of exploring differences before and after COVID-19, two time periods were established, and the 47-item questionnaire covered participants’ sociodemographic information, support networks, health concerns, mood changes, self-regulation, adult and children's perceived well-being, parental competencies and parents’ perceptions of the unborn baby and/or their children's needs.

Telehealth adaptation of perinatal mental health mother–infant group programming for the COVID-19 pandemic

Jennifer J. Paul; Shaleah Dardar; Laura M. River (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Infant Mental Health Journal
The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing isolation stressed pregnant and postpartum women and their families pervasively. This necessitated addressing young families’ mental health needs while protecting both patients and providers from COVID-19 exposure. Our experience of rapidly adapting Pregnancy, Maternal Postpartum Peer Support, and Mother–Infant Postpartum Group interventions to high-quality telehealth modalities elucidates benefits and challenges of mother–infant dyadic treatment amidst the pandemic. This study compares 2019 in-person and 2020 telehealth services during the period from mid-March through mid-December in each year. Initial program Warmline contacts were similar across years despite pandemic-related restrictions, with 2020 program contacts surpassing the 147 unique patient outreaches during the commensurate 2019 period.
Breastfeeding media coverage and beliefs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico: implications for breastfeeding equity

M. Vilar-Compte; P. Gaitán-Rossi; E. C. Rhodes (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: International Journal for Equity in Health
Because breastfeeding offers short- and long- term health benefits to mothers and children, breastfeeding promotion and support is a public health priority. Evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not likely to be transmitted via breastmilk. Moreover, antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are thought to be contained in breastmilk of mothers with history of COVID-19 infection or vaccination. WHO recommends direct breastfeeding as the preferred infant feeding option during the COVID-19 pandemic, even among women with COVID-19; but conflicting practices have been adopted, which could widen existing inequities in breastfeeding. This study aims to describe how information about breastfeeding was communicated in Mexican media during the pandemic and assess Mexican adults’ beliefs regarding breastfeeding among mothers infected with COVID-19.
The impact of maternal anxiety on early child development during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ljiljana Jeličić; Mirjana Sovilj; Ivana Bogavac (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

Maternal prenatal anxiety is among important public health issues as it may affect child development. However, there are not enough studies to examine the impact of a mother's anxiety on the child's early development, especially up to 1 year. The present prospective cohort study aimed to examine whether maternal trait anxiety, perceived social support, and COVID-19 related fear impacted speech-language, sensory-motor, and socio-emotional development in 12 months old Serbian infants during the COVID-19 pandemic. This follow-up study included 142 pregnant women (Time 1) and their children at 12 months (Time 2). Antenatal maternal anxiety and children's development were examined. Maternal anxiety was assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Child speech-language, sensory-motor, and socio-emotional development were assessed using the developmental scale in the form of an online questionnaire that examined the early psychophysiological child development. Information on socioeconomic factors, child and maternal demographics, clinical factors, and perceived fear of COVID-19 viral infection were collected. Multivariable General Linear Model analysis was conducted, adjusted for demographic, clinical, and coronavirus prenatal experiences, maternal prenatal anxiety levels, perceived social support, speech-language, motor skills, and cognitive and socio-emotional development at the infants' age of 12 months.

Maternal-fetal bonding during the COVID-19 pandemic

Amanda Koire; Leena Mittal; Carmina Erdei (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

The pregnant population experienced unique COVID-19 physical and psychosocial stressors such as direct health concerns related to the virus and loss of access to resources since the COVID-19 emerged as a global pandemic in early 2020. Despite these COVID-19-related stress and concerns, the maternal experience of bonding with their unborn children has not been well studied. This work aimed to study the association between mental health history, current mental health symptoms, psychological factors, COVID-19-related worries, and self-reported maternal-fetal bonding of pregnant women. This online, survey-based cross-sectional study focused on women pregnant during the pandemic and assessed 686 women using data collected from May 19, 2020 to October 3, 2020. Enrolled respondents completed assessments in which they self-reported maternal-fetal bonding, mental health symptomatology, psychological factors, and COVID-19-related worries regarding health, pregnancy, and resources.

COVID-19 related fear and depression of pregnant women and new mothers

Heidi Sze Lok Fan; Edmond Pui Hang Choi; Rachel Wai Tung Ko (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Public Health Nursing

This paper aimed to explore factors associated with depression and COVID-19 related fear among pregnant women and new mothers. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in China from July 2020 to July 2021. A total of 3027 pregnant and new mothers were recruited. Sociodemographic characteristics and the perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic were collected. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Fear Scale was used to assess the depressive and fear level towards the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively.

Health care providers’ awareness of breastfeeding practice recommendations during COVID-19 pandemic and associated factors in Northwest Ethiopia, 2021: a multicenter study

Azmeraw Ambachew Kebede; Birhan Tsegaw Taye; Kindu Yinges Wondie (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Plos One

Prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission to newborns is one of the basic components of perinatal care in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, scientific evidence is compulsory for evidence-based practices. However, there was a scarcity of evidence on health care providers’ awareness of breastfeeding practice recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia, particularly in the study setting. The study aimed at assessing healthcare providers’ awareness of breastfeeding practice recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated factors among healthcare providers in northwest Ethiopia, 2021.

Associations between postpartum depression and assistance with household tasks and childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from American mothers

Theresa E. Gildner; Glorieuse Uwizeye; Rebecca L. Milner (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

The early postpartum period is recognized cross-culturally as being important for recovery, with new parents receiving increased levels of community support. However, COVID-19-related lockdown measures may have disrupted these support systems, with possible implications for mental health. This study uses a cross-sectional analysis among individuals who gave birth at different stages of the pandemic to test (i) if instrumental support access in the form of help with household tasks, newborn care, and care for older children has varied temporally across the pandemic, and (ii) whether access to these forms of instrumental support is associated with lower postpartum depression scores. This study used data from the COVID-19 And Reproductive Effects (CARE) study, an online survey of pregnant persons in the United States. Participants completed postnatal surveys between April 30 – November 18, 2020 (n = 971). Logistic regression analysis tested whether birth timing during the pandemic was associated with odds of reported sustained instrumental support. Linear regression analyses assessed whether instrumental support was associated with lower depression scores as measured via the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression survey.

Exploring challenges and support structures of mothers with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United Arab Emirates

Nishtha Lamba; Angelique Van Tonder; Anita Shrivastava (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Research in Developmental Disabilities

Mothers with children with ASD, often being primary caregivers, experience high levels of parenting stress and hold essential information about their children’s wellbeing. There is however lack of information about their experiences in the UAE. The study aims to explore challenges and support structures of mothers with children with ASD in the UAE. 17 expat mothers (Age range = 33-58 years) with a child with ASD were interviewed about their experiences with diagnoses, therapeutic interventions, support networks, and the pandemic.

COVID-19 perceived impacts on sleep, fitness, and diet and associations with mental health during pregnancy: a cross-national study

Karmel W. Choi; Hannah H. Kim; Archana Basu (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports

In a survey of 3,692 pregnant women during COVID-19 pandemic, one in three pregnant women reported elevated mental health distress, and about 30-45% women reported moderate to high impacts on health behaviors across sleep, fitness, and diet. Greater impact in each health behavior domain (sleep, diet, fitness) was linked to increased mental health distress, even after accounting for impacts in the other domains. Gratitude and sense of community may buffer the impact of sleep and other health behaviors on mental health distress, while loneliness may exacerbate risks. Addressing sleep, diet, and fitness changes together may help identify and prevent mental health distress in pregnancy during a major stressor such as a global pandemic.

Single mothering during the COVID-19 pandemic: a remote photovoice project among Filipino single mothers working from home

Mary Rose Jean Andrada-Poa; Ronaldo F. Jabal; Jerome V. Cleofas (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Community, Work & Family
Family and work lives are continually transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Single parent families may be disproportionately affected by prolonged confinement and work-from-home (WFH) arrangements. This photovoice study explores how single mothering is shaped by WFH during the COVID-19 pandemic using an ecological perspective. Fifteen (15) single mothers participated in this remote photovoice project that was facilitated through digital and Internet-mediated methods. The mothers took photographs of daily home and work life highlights. These photographs were used to guide the one-on-one interviews conducted via videoconferencing.
Differences in pregnancy and perinatal outcomes among symptomatic versus asymptomatic COVID-19-infected pregnant women: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Durray Shahwar A. Khan; La‑Raib Hamid; Anna Ali (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

There is dearth of information on COVID-19’s impact on pregnant women. However, literature reported trends of COVID-19 differ, depending on the presence of clinical features upon presentation. This systematic review aimed to assess differences in risk factors, management, complications, and pregnancy and perinatal outcomes in symptomatic vs. asymptomatic pregnant women with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. A search was run on electronic databases to identify studies reporting COVID-19 in pregnancy. Meta-analysis was performed and odds ratios and mean difference with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using Review Manager 5.4.

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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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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.