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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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UNICEF Innocenti Publication
UNICEF Publication
Open Access
16 - 30 of 2054
Effects of a parenting intervention for emotional and behavioral problems in young autistic children under conditions of enhanced uncertainty: two-year follow-up of a pilot randomized controlled trial cohort (ASTAR) during the United Kingdom COVID-19

Melanie Palmer; Virginia Carter Leno; Victoria Hallett (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Most young autistic children display emotional and behavioral problems (EBPs). There is evidence that behavioral parenting interventions (BPIs) reduce these. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns can be seen as a natural experiment to test the longer-term effect of BPIs under conditions of increased uncertainty. Opportunistic follow-up (n = 49) of a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) cohort (n = 62 autistic children aged 6-11 years; originally randomized to a 12-week group BPI [Predictive Parenting; n = 31] or an attention control [Psychoeducation; n = 31]) was conducted during COVID-19−related lockdowns. Measures of parent-reported child irritability and parenting stress were collected at 3 time points (baseline: mean age = 6.7 years; primary endpoint: mean age = 7.1 years, ∼5 months after randomization; and COVID-19 follow-up: mean age = 8.8 years, ∼2 years after randomization). We tested the magnitude of intervention effects using point estimates of differences in child irritability and parenting stress between arms at primary endpoint and COVID-19 follow-up, covarying for baseline scores. We used area under the curve (AUC) analyses to obtain overall estimates of the average intervention effect across all 3 timepoints. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with a subsample of parents (n = 18).
Understanding the impact of home confinement on children and young people with ADHD and ASD during the COVID-19 pandemic

Charlotte L. Hall; Christopher Partlett; Althea Z. Valentine (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Child Psychiatry & Human Development
To understand whether the mental health of children and young people (CYP) with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were differentially affected by COVID-19. This study analysed data (n = 6507) from the Co-Space study, a UK web-based longitudinal survey. CYP with ADHD (n = 160;2.5%), ASD (n = 465;7%), and ADHD + ASD (n = 155;2.4%) were compared with a reference group (n = 5727;88%) using parent-completed questionnaires [Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) & Pandemic Anxiety Scale (PAS)]. Baseline to 1-month follow-up differences were compared using linear regression models.
LGBTQ2S+ youth perspectives on mental healthcare provider bias, standards of care, and accountability

Michael Chaiton; Rachel Thorburn; Megan Sutton (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Youth
This study explores the experiences of LGBTQ2S+ youth while accessing mental health and substance use care services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a series of facilitated virtual meetings, 33 LGBTQ2S+ youth from across Ontario participated in collaborative activities to identify barriers they have experienced when accessing mental health services, as well as potential solutions to these barriers. Discussions were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on perinatal services and maternal mental health in the UK

Lorraine S. Kasaven; Isabel Raynaud; Maria Jalmbrant (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: BJPsych Open

COVID-19 has created many challenges for women in the perinatal phase. This stems from prolonged periods of lockdowns, restricted support networks and media panic, alongside altered healthcare provision. This study aimed to review the evidence regarding the psychological impact on new and expecting mothers following changes to antenatal and postnatal service provision within the UK throughout the pandemic. It conducted a narrative literature search of major databases (PubMed, Medline, Google Scholar). The literature was critically reviewed by experts within the field of antenatal and perinatal mental health.

Relations between maternal panic over COVID-19 and children's depressive symptoms: the moderating role of children's daily routines

Muzi Yuan; Xiaohua Bian; Junsheng Liu (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Current Psychology
The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 and consequent quarantine policies have substantially altered family lives worldwide. Potential associations between parental negative emotional expressions towards the pandemic, family factors, and child psychological adjustment remain under-explored. Accordingly, the goal of the present study was to examine the relation between maternal panic over COVID-19 and children’s depressive symptoms, with a focus on the potential moderating role of children’s daily routines during a period of strict quarantine. Participants were N = 1,589 children (Mage = 13.13 years, SD = 1.54; 50.7% girls) and their mothers, from Zhengzhou, Henan Province, in Mainland China. Data were collected in April of 2020, when school closure policies were in effect. Mothers reported their panic over COVID-19 and children reported their depressive symptoms and daily routines during the quarantine period.
The COVID-19 pandemic: implications for maternal mental health and early childhood development

Bonnie D. Kerker; Erica Willheim; J. Rebecca Weis (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: American Journal of Health Promotion
Women are particularly susceptible to mental health challenges during the perinatal period. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, much concern was raised about the impact that the associated isolation, uncertainty, grief, loss and economic upheaval would have on mental health. Women experienced a disproportionate amount of environmental strain during this time, including economic stress and challenges associated with being essential workers; stressors were perhaps most prevalent in communities of color and immigrant groups. For women who were pregnant during the height of the pandemic, it is clear that stress, anxiety, and depression were increased due to changes in medical care and decreases in social support. Increased mental health challenges in the perinatal period have been shown to impact social-emotional, cognitive and behavioral health in infants and children, so the potential consequences of the COVID-19 era are great. This paper discusses these potential impacts and describes important pathways for future research.
Psychosocial work stress and parent-child bonding during the COVID-19 pandemic: clarifying the role of parental symptoms of depression and aggressiveness

Mirjam I. Koerber; Judith T. Mack; Lara Seefeld (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: BMC Public Health

Parental work stress and impaired mental health seem to have intensified during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Both can have a negative impact on parent-child bonding: psychosocial work stress in the course of a spillover effect from work to family and symptoms of impaired mental health as part of a crossover effect from parent to child. This potentially affects the child’s development in the long term. This cross-sectional study examined the relationship between psychosocial work stress and parent-child bonding during the early COVID-19 pandemic (May–June 2020). Symptoms of depression and aggressiveness were considered as mediators of this relationship. The sample consisted of employees in Eastern Germany (n = 380; 42.9% mothers, 57.1% fathers), aged 24–55 years, with children aged 0–36 months.

Autistic young people's experiences of remote psychological interventions during COVID-19

Lucy Adams; Nicoletta Adamo; Matthew J. Hollocks (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Autism
Telepsychiatry has been rapidly adopted to help control the spread of coronavirus. Clinicians have raised concerns over this for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The remote delivery of psychological interventions in particular requires further attention as their in-person delivery has autism spectrum disorder–associated challenges which overlap with the challenges of telepsychiatry broadly (i.e. beyond autism spectrum disorder). Autistic service-users (aged 15–18 years, n = 6) and clinicians working with this client group (n = 8) were therefore interviewed about their experience of remote psychological interventions during the pandemic. The sample size was determined using preregistered thematic saturation calculations. Thematic analysis of responses identified challenges/barriers, benefits, facilitators, and factors perceived to cause variability in experiences of remote delivery.
Maternal psychopathological profile during childbirth and neonatal development during the COVID-19 pandemic: a pre-posttest study

Sergio Martinez-Vazquez; Blanca Riquelme-Gallego; Leydi Jhoansy Lugo-Toro (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Behavioral Sciences
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 generated an alert that became a state of emergency in health issues worldwide, a situation that affected the entire population, including pregnant women. The present study aims to understand the effect of the psychopathological profile of a sample of pregnant women at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic on themselves during childbirth (Phase 1) and after childbirth and the anthropometric measures of the neonate at birth (Phase 2). The total sample comprises 81 pregnant women aged 32.07 years (SD = 5.45) and their neonates. Sociodemographic and obstetric data of the sample were collected. During pregnancy, psychopathology was measured by means of the SCL-90, as well as other psychological measures on stress and social support. Cluster k-means techniques were used to uncover the heterogeneous profiles of psychopathology in Phase 1.
Access to mental health support, unmet need and preferences among adolescents during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

Lauren R. Gorfinkel; Gaelen Snell; David Long (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Journal

The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread effects on adolescent mental health. However, little is known about support-seeking, unmet need and preferences for mental health care among adolescents. The Youth Development Instrument (YDI) is a school-administered survey of adolescents (N = 1928, mean age = 17.1, SD = 0.3) across British Columbia, Canada. In this cohort, we assessed the characteristics of accessed mental health supports, prevalence of unmet need and preferences for in-person versus internet-based services.

The longitudinal association between internet addiction and depressive and anxiety symptoms among Chinese adolescents before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Li Zhao; Xiang Li; Qin Yang (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health

The COVID-19 pandemic and related prevention policies, such as home quarantine or online courses, could increase the risks of experiencing internet addiction and mental health problems among Chinese adolescents. There is a lack of longitudinal evidence to show the association between internet addiction symptoms and psychological consequences (e.g., depressive and anxiety symptoms). This study aimed to explore the association between internet addiction and depressive and anxiety symptoms before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. An effective sample of 7,958 Chinese adolescents was recruited for this two-wave longitudinal survey conducted over a six-month interval. All participants completed two-wave surveys before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. A longitudinal cross-lagged path model was used to analyze the associations between internet addiction and depressive and anxiety symptoms after controlling for four covariates (i.e., age, sex, minority, and COVID-19 influence).

Onset risk factors for youth involvement in cyberbullying and cybervictimization: a longitudinal study

Anna Sorrentino; Alessia Esposito; Debora Acunzo (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

Cyberbullying and cybervictimization are spread worldwide, and due to COVID-19, an increasing number of children and adolescents have been impacted. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, research has investigated and highlighted the key risk factors for cyberbullying and cybervictimization, and numerous anti-cyberbullying prevention and intervention programs have been developed and assessed for their efficacy. Despite this, no studies have specifically focused on the individual, relational, and contextual risk factors associated with the onset of youth involvement in cyberbullying and cybervictimization.  To address this lacuna, 333 Italian students aged 10–16 years (M = 12.16, SD = 1.35) were involved in a year-long longitudinal study and filled in the anonymous online actuarial Tabby Improved Checklist two times with a 6-month interval. Onset risk factors for cyberbullying and cybervictimization have been separately analyzed by excluding all students involved in cyberbullying from the original sample or in the cybervictimization baseline (T1).

Disruption to education during COVID-19: school nonacademic factors are associated with children's mental health

Kimberley C. Tsujimoto; Katherine Tombeau Cost; Kaitlyn Laforge-Mackenzie (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatric2

Few studies have examined aspects of the school environment, beyond modality, as contributors to child and youth mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. We investigated associations between nonacademic school experiences and children's mental health. Parents of children ages 6 to 18 years completed online surveys about school experiences (November 2020) and mental health (February/March 2021). Parent-reported and child-reported school experiences (i.e., nonacademic factors) included school importance, adapting to public health measures, and school connectedness. Children's mental health symptoms of depression, anxiety, inattention, and hyperactivity were collected using standardized parent-reported measures.

In the shadow of COVID-19: A randomized controlled online ACT trial promoting adolescent psychological flexibility and self-compassion

Päivi Lappalainen; Raimo Lappalainen; Katariina Keinonen (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science

Although some adolescents managed to cope well with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the well-being of many was adversely affected due to school closures, distance education, restrictions on gathering with friends, and limited access to mental health services. Many adolescents reported increased anxiety and depression as well as decreased psychological wellbeing due to the pandemic. Consequently, there is a need for psychological support that exceeds the strained resources available to schools to support young people during times of crisis and societal pressure. The present study aimed to explore the effects of an online-delivered ACT intervention to promote adolescent psychological flexibility and self-compassion and decrease psychological distress during the second wave of COVID-19 in the fall of 2020.

Screen media exposure and behavioral adjustment in early childhood during and after COVID-19 home lockdown periods

Noa Gueron-Sela; Ido Shaleva; Avigail Gordon-Hacker (et al.)

Published: January 2023   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
There is ample evidence that young children's screen media use has sharply increased since the outbreak of the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, the long-term impact of these changes on children's adjustment is currently unclear. The goals of the current study were to assess longitudinal trajectories of young children's screen media exposure through a series of national COVID-19 home lockdowns and to examine the predictive associations between different aspects of media exposure and post-lockdown behavioral adjustment. Data were collected at four timepoints during and after home lockdown periods in Israel. Longitudinal data measuring various aspects of media use, behavioral conduct and emotional problems were gathered from a sample of 313 Israeli children (54% females) between the ages two to five years (Mage at T1 = 3.6), by surveying their mothers at 5 points in time.
16 - 30 of 2054

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.