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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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The development and pandemic‐related adaptation of a resilience program for native middle‐school youth: a case study

Cedric Woods; BoRam Kim; Deirdre Calvert (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Public Health Nursing
As of 2017, American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) had the highest prevalence of illicit drug use of any ethnic group in the United States, with 17.6% of the population aged 12 and older reporting using illicit drugs in the last month. Studies have shown the positive correlation between a history of trauma and substance use disorder. In fact, the majority of youth in treatment for substance misuse reported a history of trauma. Intergenerational trauma, systematic discrimination, and displacement are downstream effects of colonization, and experiences of racism often define the life experiences of AI/ANs who use substances. This paper describes the process of designing a developmentally and culturally appropriate primary prevention supplement for an evidence-based program to prevent substance use and increase cultural identity among AI/AN youth.
‘They're like little police’: Australian parents' perceptions of their children's awareness of drinking during COVID-19

Megan Cook; Sandra Kuntsche; Amy Pennay

Published: November 2021   Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review

As a result of COVID-19 and associated lockdown restrictions, children may have been exposed to more home-based alcohol consumption and parents' drinking practices. This paper explores Australian parents' perceptions of their children's awareness of drinking and their reflections on the impact of COVID-19 on children's exposure and acquisition of alcohol-related knowledge. In-depth interviews were undertaken with 30 parents and carers of children aged four to 12 years from across Australia. Participants described their family lives, the role of alcohol, any changes in alcohol and family dynamics experienced because of COVID-19 and their children's exposure and knowledge of alcohol before and during their experience of COVID-19. Using social learning theory as a guiding framework, transcripts were analysed to identify relevant themes.

Adolescents and opioid-related outcomes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Romina A. Romero; Sean D. Young

Published: May 2021   Journal: Journal of Addictive Diseases
Morbidity and mortality attributable to opioid use and misuse among adolescents and young adults are evident. Although recent trend data suggest a decrease in both opioid misuse and opioid use disorder among adolescents and young adults in the last few years, overdose cases continue to rise. The opioid epidemic among this population is complex and has a different profile compared to adults, with family facilitating exposure to opioids more often than other sources. Additionally, despite recommendations by experts to initiate medications for opioid use disorder, few initiate treatment. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many facets of daily life and its effects on the opioid crisis are largely unknown. Stay-at-home mandates resulting in online schooling and limited social interaction has had deleterious consequences for adolescents, especially their mental health. This viewpoint attempts to explore the effects of the pandemic on the opioid crisis in this vulnerable population.
Impact of COVID-19 on service delivery for an evidence-based behavioral treatment for families involved in the child welfare system

Gracelyn Cruden; Mark Campbell; Lisa Saldana

Published: April 2021   Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has dramatically impacted clinical service delivery, particularly substance use treatment. The Families Actively Improving Relationships (FAIR) program is an action-oriented, evidence-based behavioral treatment for opioid and methamphetamine disorders in parents involved in the child welfare (CW) system. A seven-clinician team operates out of a Medicaid-funded clinic, primarily delivering services in the community. Attending to underlying mechanisms of FAIR's intervention strategies that promote client engagement and clinical outcomes, FAIR rapidly adapted procedures in response to COVID-19-onset disruptions. This study analyzed administrative records and Medicaid claims data from January 2019 to July 2020, including 157 clients and 17,449 claims.
Adolescent emotional disorder symptoms and transdiagnostic vulnerabilities as predictors of young adult substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic: mediation by substance-related coping behaviors

Junhan Cho; Mariel S. Bello; Nina C. Christie (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique stressors (e.g. social isolation) that may increase substance use risk among young adults with a history of emotional disturbance. This study examined whether emotional disorder symptoms and transdiagnostic vulnerabilities during adolescence predicted young adult substance use during COVID-19, and whether using substances to cope with the pandemic’s social conditions mediated these associations.
Harm reduction for adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: a case study of community care in reach

Elizabeth Noyes; Ellis Yeo; Megan Yerton (et al.)

Published: March 2021   Journal: Public Health Reports
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has challenged the ability of harm reduction programs to provide vital services to adolescents, young adults, and people who use drugs, thereby increasing the risk of overdose, infection, withdrawal, and other complications of drug use. To evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on harm reduction services for adolescents and young adults in Boston, this study conducted a quantitative assessment of the Community Care in Reach (CCIR) youth pilot program to determine gaps in services created by its closure during the peak of the pandemic (March 19–June 21, 2020).
Adolescents, drugs, and COVID-19: special challenges during the pandemic

Gayatri Bhatia; Biswadip Chatterjee; Anju Dhawan

Published: February 2021   Journal: Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
The healthcare sector continues to function under the rubric of essential services, however, with some practical restrictions. As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, restriction of movement, and economic shutdown have brought drastic changes to our psychosocial environment. These changes impose significant challenges for child and adolescent mental health. Decreased opportunities for stress regulation, anxiety, existing mental health conditions, domestic violence, child maltreatment, and traumatic experiences have been discussed, and ensuring continuity of care with helpline services have been recommended. However, one population that has received little attention is adolescents who use substances. Substance use among adolescents is a cause of concern worldwide.3,4 According to the national survey, Magnitude of Substance Use in India, 2019, the prevalence of current use among adolescents is 1.8% for opioids, 1.3% for alcohol, 1.17% for volatile solvents, and 0.9% for cannabis.
What does adolescent substance use look like during the COVID-19 pandemic? Examining changes in frequency, social contexts, and pandemic-related predictors

Tara M. Dumas; Wendy Ellis; Dana M. Litt

Published: September 2020   Journal: The Journal of Adolescent Health

The overarching goal of this study was to provide key information on how adolescents' substance use has changed since the corona virus disease (COVID)-19 pandemic, in addition to key contexts and correlates of substance use during social distancing. Canadian adolescents completed an online survey, in which they reported on their frequency of alcohol use, binge drinking, cannabis use, and vaping in the 3 weeks before and directly after social distancing practices had taken effect.

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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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Each quarterly thematic digest features the latest evidence drawn from the Children and COVID-19 Research Library on a particular topic of interest.
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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.