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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Unforeseen effects of COVID-19 on adolescent health

Mishu Mangla

Published: September 2021   Journal: The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India
India is presently in the midst of a major health crisis with the second wave of corona virus spreading at an alarming rate and claiming more lives than ever before. Although the pandemic is affecting the lives of all sections of society, adolescent girls being a vulnerable group are affected in dual manner, not just by the direct effects of the virus but also by many still underrated indirect effects. The present article aims to highlight the indirect yet sinister effects of COVID-19 on physical, mental, social, sexual and reproductive and psychological health and well-being of adolescent girls and other issues like their personal safety, peer support and long-term health issues.
Clinical, financial and social impacts of COVID-19 and their associations with mental health for mothers and children experiencing adversity in Australia

Hannah Bryson; Fiona Mensah; Anna Price (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Plos One
Australia has maintained low rates of SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) infection, due to geographic location and strict public health restrictions. However, the financial and social impacts of these restrictions can negatively affect parents’ and children’s mental health. In an existing cohort of mothers recruited for their experience of adversity, this study examined: 1) families’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions in terms of clinical exposure, financial hardship family stress, and family resilience (termed ‘COVID-19 impacts’); and 2) associations between COVID-19 impacts and maternal and child mental health.
Patterns and predictors of adolescent life change during the COVID-19 pandemic: a person-centered approach

Jingyi Shen; Ruixi Sun; Jianjie Xu (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Current Psychology
The present study investigated patterns of adolescent life changes across multiple life domains and utilized a holistic-interactionistic perspective to examine their individual, familial, and societal correlates with a sample of 2544 Chinese parent-adolescent dyads. Adolescents were aged from 10 to 19 years old (50.16% girls). Latent profile analysis revealed five life change profiles, including three improved profiles at various degrees, one unchanged profile, and one worsened profile. The majority of adolescents had an improved or unchanged life. Multinomial logistic regression analyses found that most of the individual, familial, and societal factors predicted the group memberships. Notably, parent-adolescent conflict was a significant factor that predicted memberships of all patterns. These findings show the resilience of adolescents and indicate the need for policies and interventions that consider the holistic nature of adolescents’ person-context system, especially during a global crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roles of family stress, maltreatment, and affect regulation difficulties on adolescent mental health during COVID-19

Stephanie G. Craig; Christina L. Robillard; Brianna J. Turner (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Violence
This study examines the indirect effects of affect dysregulation and suppression on the associations between family stress from confinement, maltreatment, and adolescent mental health during COVID-19. It examined both adolescent and caregiver perspectives to yield a more well-rounded understanding of these associations than afforded in previous research. Using both adolescent (N = 809, Mage = 15.66) and caregiver (N = 578) samples, family stress from confinement, exposure to physical and psychological maltreatment, affect dysregulation and suppression, and youth internalizing and externalizing symptoms were measured in the summer of 2020, following three months of stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 and UK family carers: policy implications

Juliana Onwumere; Cathy Creswell; Gill Livingston (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: The Lancet Psychiatry

Informal (unpaid) carers are an integral part of all societies and the health and social care systems in the UK depend on them. Despite the valuable contributions and key worker status of informal carers, their lived experiences, wellbeing, and needs have been neglected during the COVID-19 pandemic. This Health Policy brings together a broad range of clinicians, researchers, and people with lived experience as informal carers to share their thoughts on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK carers, many of whom have felt abandoned as services closed. It focuses on the carers of children and young people and adults and older adults with mental health diagnoses, and carers of people with intellectual disability or neurodevelopmental conditions across different care settings over the lifespan. It provides policy recommendations with the aim of improving outcomes for all carers.

Family functioning as a moderator in the relation between perceived stress and psychotic-like experiences among adolescents during COVID-19

Zhipeng Wua; Zhulin Zou; Feiwen Wang (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Comprehensive Psychiatry

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased psychological stress among adolescents, and the relation between perceived stress (PS) and psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) has been well-established. However, little is known about the role of family functioning (FF) in this relation, especially when adolescents experienced the extended lockdown period with family members. A total of 4807 adolescents completed this retrospective paper-and-pencil survey after school reopening between May 14th and June 6th, 2020 in Hunan Province, China. We measured PS with the Perceived stress scale (PSS-10), PLEs with the eight positive items from Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-8), and FF with the Family APGAR scale. We conducted subgroup analysis based on three FF levels (good, moderate, and poor) determined by previous studies. Finally, correlation and moderation analysis were performed to detect the effect of FF in the relation between PS and PLEs after adjusting for demographic variables.

Effects of maternal psychological distress and perception of COVID-19 on prenatal attachment in a large sample of Italian pregnant women

Francesco Craig; Maria Cecilia Gioia; Vito Muggeo (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

Evidence concerning the impact of COVID-19-related stress exposure on prenatal attachment in pregnant women is unknown. This study  sought to assess the effect of psychological distress and risk perception of COVID-19 on prenatal attachment in a Italian sample of pregnant women. 1179 pregnant women completed an anonymous online survey and self-report questionnaires measuring socio-demographic and obstetric characteristics, psychological distress (STAI Form Y-1-2 and BDI-II), prenatal attachment (PAI) and risk perception of COVID-19. Data were collected from March 2020 to April 2020 referring to the national lockdown period.

Internet addiction and psychosocial problems among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study

Fatma Ozlem Ozturka; Sultan Ayaz-Alkaya

Published: September 2021   Journal: Archives of Psychiatric Nursing

This research was conducted to investigate the prevalence of internet addiction and psychosocial problems and associated factors among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Turkey. The population was composed of 9th and 10th grade students. The sample consisted of 1572 participants. Data were collected from parents of the students through a questionnaire, the Pediatric Symptom Checklist, and the Parent-Child Internet Addiction Test.

Community-based parent-training for disruptive behaviors in children with ASD using synchronous telehealth services: a pilot study

Nathaniel A. Shanok; Erin Brooker Lozott; Marlene Sotelo (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
This study conducted a feasibility pilot of the RUBI parent training program (RUBI PT) delivered virtually with children with ASD and disruptive behaviors in a diverse community sample. Twenty-nine children (age M = 5.79, SD = 3.56) were enrolled for the direct, telehealth delivered program. Twenty-four families completed the program (82.8 %) and 85.3 % of core sessions were attended. Four of the five families who dropped out were participating during the COVID-19 pandemic and cited this as the reason for discontinuing. The feasibility of the program for reducing problem behaviors in the home setting was consistent with prior RUBI PT studies. Future implementation of synchronous telehealth PT is encouraged as this format will enable more families to access this service, especially in underserved communities.
Development of the parental attitude scale-protecting children during COVID-19 and the relationship between parental attitudes and fear of COVID-19

Gülçin Özalp Gerçeker; Emine Zahide Özdemir; Bilge Özdemir (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Nursing

During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and children have experienced stress and fear, and the attitudes of parents toward COVID-19 need to be explored. This study aimed to develop the Parental Attitude Scale-Protecting Children during COVID-19 (PAS-CV19S) and assess its psychometric properties. This study also aimed to determine the relationship between parental attitudes about COVID-19 and fear of COVID-19.

Lockdown babies: Birth and new parenting experiences during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa, a cross-sectional study

Elise Farley; Amanda Edwards; Emma Numanoglu (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Women and Birth

Perceived birth experiences of parents can have a lasting impact on children. This study explored the birth and new parenting experiences of South African parents in 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown. It was a cross-sectional online survey with consenting parents of babies born in South Africa during 2020. Factors associated with negative birth emotions and probable depression were estimated using logistic regression.

The impact of visiting restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric patients

Deborah L. McBride

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Nursing
Visitor restriction policies have been implemented on many hospital units as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. These policies are integral to the strategies that hospitals are using to limit exposure risks during the pandemic. However, visitor restriction policies disproportionally affect hospitalized children. The trauma caused by lack of family at the bedside of adult patients during the Covid-19 pandemic has been studied but there is a lack of primary research on the impact of the Covid-19 visiting policy restrictions on pediatric patients. Long term studies are needed to understand the effect of this separation on children and their caregivers.
School's out: parenting stress and screen time use in school-age children during the COVID-19 pandemic

Diane Seguin; Elizabeth Kuenzel; J Bruce Morton (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports

During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of children abruptly moved to online schooling, which required high levels of parental involvement. Family routines were disrupted, potentially increasing parental stress, and may be reflected in greater media screen time use in children. To determine whether (1) parenting styles and (2) parenting stress were associated with children's screen time use during the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Contrasts and ambivalences in French parents’ experiences regarding changes in eating and cooking behaviours during the COVID-19 lockdown

Kaat Philippe; Sylvie Issanchou; Sandrine Monnery-Patris

Published: September 2021   Journal: Food Quality and Preference
Using open-ended questions, this study explored parents’ experiences regarding changes in their family’s food-related behaviours during the first COVID-19 lockdown in France (March-May 2020). Parents (N=498, 72% mothers) of children aged 3-12 years described which food-related changes they (1) perceived as positive during the lockdown, (2) perceived as negative, and (3) would like to maintain after the lockdown. A thematic analysis revealed that parents appreciated the choice of more local, fresh foods, the time to prepare food (home-made dishes, new recipes) and cooking and eating together with the family. In contrast, some parents highlighted a burden imposed by the increased food preparation at home. They also described a higher intake of unhealthy, palatable food (or the temptation to do so), and weight concerns. Parents would like to maintain their choice of local, fresh foods, and to continue spending more time together around food but doubt the feasibility after the lockdown. The results revealed many inter- and intra-individual contrasts in parents’ answers. An ambivalent attitude toward food pleasure was demonstrated: the sensory/commensal pleasure of eating versus the concerns about an increased intake of pleasurable food. Additionally, gender differences were observed: mothers perceived the preparation of additional meals, for example, more often as a burden than fathers. This study revealed intimate perceptions of the impact of the lockdown on eating habits in families. They give insight into possible facilitators and barriers (e.g., time) for the adoption of recommended eating and cooking behaviours in families, beyond the pandemic.
COVID-19 and the acceleration of behavioral parent training telehealth: current status and future directions

Alexandra D. W. Sullivan; Rex Forehand; Juliana Acosta (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Cognitive and Behavioral Practice
The SARS CO-V-2 (COVID-19) pandemic and associated social distancing guidelines have accelerated the telehealth transition in mental health. For those providing Behavioral Parent Training (BPT), this transition has called for moving sessions that are traditionally clinic-based, active, and directive to engaging, supporting, and treating families of children with behavior disorders remotely in their homes. Whereas many difficulties accompany this transition, the lessons learned during the current public health crisis have the potential to transform BPT service delivery on a large scale in ways that address many of its long-standing limitations. This study describes both challenges and opportunities and consider the possibilities inherent in a large scale BPT service delivery model capable of increasing the reach and impact of evidence-based treatment for all families.
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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.