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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 199
The Impact of COVID-19 on Anxiety and Worries for Families of Individuals with Special Education Needs and Disabilities in the UK

V. Sideropoulos; D. Dukes; M. Hanley (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
COVID-19 has affected people across the world. The current study examined anxiety and worries during the first UK national lockdown in March 2020. Parents (n = 402) reported on their own anxiety and worries as well as that of their son/daughter with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and typically developing (TD) child (n = 186) at three time points. Although both groups showed increased anxiety across the three time points, levels of anxiety in the SEND group, but not the TD siblings, were predicted by awareness about COVID-19. In addition, worries differed between the groups showing that COVID-19 impacts the wellbeing of those with SEND differently to that of their TD siblings.
The roles of stress, coping, and parental support in adolescent psychological well-being in the context of COVID-19: a daily-diary study

Ming-Te Wang; Juan Del Toro; Christina L. Scanlon (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

COVID-19 has introduced novel stressors into American adolescents’ lives. Studies have shown that adolescents adopt an array of coping mechanisms and social supports when contending with stress. It is unclear, though, which strategies are most effective in mitigating daily pandemic-related stress, as few micro-longitudinal studies have explored adolescents’ daily affect during COVID-19. Parental support may also be a critical component of adolescents’ pandemic-related coping, as adolescents’ peer networks have been limited by public health measures. This longitudinal study examined links between stress, coping, parental support, and affect across 14 consecutive days and 6216 assessments from a national sample of adolescents (N=444; Mage=15.0; 60% female; 44% Black/African American, 39% White/Europen American, 9% Latinx, 6% Asian American, 2% Native American) during school closures and state-mandated stay-at-home orders between April 8 and April 21, 2021.

The quality of mother-child feeding interactions during COVID-19 pandemic: an exploratory study on an Italian sample

Luca Cerniglia; Renata Tambelli; Elena Trombini (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: European Journal of Developmental Psychology

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the life of individuals in several realms such as work, education, and interpersonal interactions. No research has so far investigated the possible influence of the emergency on the quality of mother-child exchanges during feeding. The mothers’ psychopathological risk, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsion scores and caregiving distress significantly increased. Children’s emotional/behavioral functioning worsened during the pandemic, with significantly higher Internalizing and externalizing scores. This is the first study to focus on the quality of mother-child feeding interactions during the pandemic. This exploratory study can expand the knowledge on the possible negative outcomes of COVID-19 on family life and caregiving.present study aimed to do so in a sample of mothers and children (N = 359) recruited in the general population.


COVID-19 and parental burnout: parents locked down but not more exhausted

Sarah Le Vigouroux; Astrid Lebert-Charron; Jaqueline Wendland (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
Lockdowns put in place in response to the COVID-19 health crisis have changed daily functioning for families and potentially the emotional experience of individuals in their parenting role. Our study aimed to highlight the importance of the environmental consequences associated with lockdowns on parental burnout. It compared data on parental burnout levels from two French samples: the first collected in 2018 (N = 1332) and the second collected during the last month of lockdown (N = 522).
Family adjustment to COVID-19 lockdown in Italy: parental stress, coparenting, and child externalizing behavior

Michele Giannotti; Noemi Mazzoni; Arianna Bentenuto (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Family Process
Evidence of psychological distress in families during COVID-19 outbreak are arising. However, the perceived changes in psychological adjustment during home confinement with respect to the period before the pandemic have not been addressed yet. Moreover, little is known about the role of coparenting and specific COVID-19 contextual variables on parental stress and children's behavioral difficulties in the Italian context. Using a cross-sectional survey, this study collected data on 841 Italian parents of children aged 3–11 years with typical development during the home confinement (20th April–18th May). It analyzed levels of parental stress, coparenting, and child externalizing behaviors before and during the home confinement. Additionally, hierarchical regressions were performed to investigate predictors of parental stress and child externalizing behaviors during the lockdown.
Parents’ intentions to vaccinate their children against COVID-19

Kristine M. Ruggiero; John Wong; Casey Fryer Sweeney (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Health Care

With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is well underway now beginning in children ages 12 and over, it is unknown what percent of parents plan to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to examine parents’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in administering a COVID-19 vaccine.

Children’s well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic: relationships with attitudes, family structure, and mothers’ well-being

Sarah E. Martiny; Kjærsti Thorsteinsen; Elizabeth J. Parks-Stamm (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: European Journal of Developmental Psychology
COVID-19 triggered social restrictions worldwide including the shutdown of schools. Whereas research has documented the negative effects on parents’ well-being, less is known about children’s well-being during the pandemic. We investigated the well-being, emotions, and COVID-19-related attitudes of 87 Norwegian elementary children (42 boys, 45 girls; Mage = 9.66 years, SD = 1.77) and their mothers (Mage = 39.69 years; SD = 5.79) in June 2020. Children reported reduced well-being relative to European norms. In line with research on child well-being before the pandemic, living in a one-parent home was associated with lower child well-being and more negative emotions during the pandemic, and mother’s well-being was related to child well-being.
Feasibility and acceptability of a synchronous online parent-mediated early intervention for children with autism in a low resource setting during COVID-19 pandemic

Koyeli Sengupta; Aakankshi Javeri; Cristabelle Mascarenhas (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Very few studies exist on tele-health models of parent-mediated interventions delivered in low resource developing countries. The global COVID-19 pandemic catalysed a pilot of an online delivery of an evidence-based parent-mediated intervention (Project ImPACT) for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Mumbai, India. Context and culture-specific adaptations were made in program structure and a mixed-methods approach was adopted to evaluate acceptability, feasibility and preliminary efficacy of this model. Quantitative results (n = 12) showed excellent completion rates, with significant improvement in parent fidelity to intervention and child social-communication skills. Analysis of qualitative data from focus groups with parents on completion revealed that parents found the online mode convenient and acceptable, found the synchronous model of sessions especially beneficial and perceived improvements in their own parenting skills and children’s developmental profiles.
Parent-reported social-communication changes in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

Phoebe O. Morris; Edward Hope; Tom Foulsham (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: International Journal of Developmental Disabilities
The coronavirus pandemic has swept across the United Kingdom (UK). Given the ever-evolving situation, little is known about the repercussions of coronavirus and the subsequent lockdowns for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Therefore, this study explores the social-communicative impact of the first lockdown (March 2020 – July 2020) in the UK and the return to school period (September 2020 – October 2020), following prolonged disruption to routine, in children diagnosed with ASD. Parents of autistic children completed 2 separate online surveys following the first lockdown in the UK (n = 176) and also when children returned to school following the summer break (n = 54).
A nonrandomized trial of a behavioral parent training intervention for parents with children with challenging behaviors: In-person versus internet-HOT DOCS

Heather Agazzi; Holland Hayford; Nicholas Thomas (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Behavioral parent training (BPT) programs are the first-line interventions for childhood disruptive behaviors. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting these programs to telehealth modalities is necessary to ensure continued services to children and families. This study evaluates the use of telehealth versus in-person modality to deliver the Helping Our Toddlers, Developing Our Children’s Skills (HOT DOCS) BPT. The study design was quasi-experimental with two nonequivalent groups: in-person HOT DOCS (n = 152) and internet-HOT DOCS (n = 46). Participants were caregivers of children ages 2–5 exhibiting disruptive behaviors. Pre- and post-intervention outcome measures were collected for child disruptive behavior and parenting stress and post-test only for consumer satisfaction.
Higher levels of harsh parenting during the COVID-19 lockdown in the Netherlands

Novika Purnama Sari; Marinus H. van IJzendoorn; Pauline Jansen (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Child Maltreatment
Previous studies on the impact of COVID-19 indicate that pandemic-related distress increases risks for child maltreatment, although data on the scope of this problem are still scarce. Here, we assessed whether parents with toddlers (n = 206) more often used harsh discipline during the lockdown in the Netherlands compared to a matched parent sample collected prior to the pandemic (n = 1,030). Parents were matched on background characteristics using propensity score matching.
Mothers’ daily perceived stress influences their children’s mental health during SARS-CoV-2-pandemic—an online survey

Franziska Köhler-Dauner; Vera Clemens; Stephanie Lange (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health volume

The current situation caused by the SARS-CoV-2-pandemic is associated with serious losses for everyone and has been affecting social life, politics, the economy and the media worldwide. Preventive isolation and social distancing strategies have confronted families with a large number of different challenges. The current epidemic and quarantine restrictions have a verifiable influence on the emotional and social development of children and adolescents. During this ongoing situation children of parents, who already were mentally stressed, seem particularly at risk. This study aimed to assess the role of maternal daily perceived stress on children’s mental health during the SARS-CoV-2-pandemic.

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.
Psychological impact of COVID-19 outbreak on families of children with autism spectrum disorder and typically developing peers: an online survey

Annalisa Levante; Serena Petrocchi; Federica Bianco (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Brain Sciences
When COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic, many countries imposed severe lockdowns that changed families’ routines and negatively impacted on parents’ and children’s mental health. Several studies on families with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) revealed that lockdown increased the difficulties faced by individuals with ASD, as well as parental distress. No studies have analyzed the interplay between parental distress, children’s emotional responses, and adaptive behaviors in children with ASD considering the period of the mandatory lockdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic and maternal mental health in a fragile and conflict-affected setting in Tumaco, Colombia: a cohort study

Andrés Moya; Pieter Serneels; Alethea Desrosiers (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: The Lancet Global Health

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health have been understudied among vulnerable populations, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected settings. This study aimed to analyse how the pandemic is related to early changes in mental health and parenting stress among caregivers, many of whom are internally displaced persons (IDP), in a conflict-affected setting in Colombia. For this cohort study, we used longitudinal data from a psychosocial support programme in which 1376 caregivers were randomly assigned across four sequential cohorts.

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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.