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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Health disparities and their effects on children and their caregivers during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic

Lynn C. Smitherman; William Christopher Golden; Jennifer R. Walton

Published: October 2021   Journal: Pediatric Clinics of North America

Health disparities are defined as differences among specific populations in the ability to achieve full health potential (as measured by differences in incidence, prevalence, mortality, burden of disease, and other adverse health conditions). Among children, multiple factors contribute to these disparities, including economic stability, and access to health care. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, before the current pandemic, 12 million children in the United States were living in poverty in 2019, including one-third of African American and Native American children and 25% of Latinx children.8 During the same period, of the 4.4 million children without health insurance, 14% were Native American, 9% were of Hispanic descent, and 18% were immigrants. At present, owing to the impact of the pandemic on job security, more than 50% of African American, Latinx, and multiethnic adults are now without medical insurance, directly affecting the health security of their children.8 With the onset of the pandemic and the social and political upheaval felt by many disenfranchised communities, these well-documented disparities (and the importance of addressing them) have again been brought to the attention of the medical community. This overview will examine the effects of these health disparities in various populations of children in this country. We will first examine the historical context of health disparities, how they developed, and why they still exist. We will then examine how specifically the COVID-19 pandemic impacted these disparities among children and adolescents, both directly and indirectly. Finally, we hope to provide some recommendations to reduce these disparities.

Justice-centered education amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Michelle E. Forsythe; Yun-Wen Chan

Published: September 2021   Journal: The Journal of Environmental Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new saliency to educational efforts to ensure every person is able to make effective personal decisions and participate in civic affairs. However, social and political systems often constrain individual opportunities to enact personal decision-making. These sociopolitical contexts necessitate an increased emphasis on justice-centered education that equips students to recognize and respond to inequities in local and global contexts. This article presents three case studies of areas relevant to K-12 education to which the pandemic has drawn critical attention: how scientific knowledge changes, how decisions are made about science-based issues, and how the impacts of such decisions cascade in the environment. Collectively, these cases highlight the importance of justice-centered pedagogies for learning about complex socioscientific issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and how transboundary justice-centered education could support the meaningful convergence of environmental education, science education, and social studies education.
Family disruption and parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kammy K. Schmeer; Britt Singletary; Kelly M. Purtell (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
Using unique data from an economically and racially diverse sample of 448 caregivers with young children (ages 4–9 years) in Ohio, this study assesses multiple sources of family social and economic disruptions and their associations with parenting activities during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Caregivers reported extensive social and economic challenges during this time, while also increasing (on average) their time spent in play/learning activities. Time spent in discipline was less likely to increase during this period.
Strengthening lower-income families: Lessons learned from policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Jeremy B. Kanter; Deadric T. Williams; Amy J. Rauer

Published: September 2021   Journal: Family Process
Families are navigating an unstable economy due to COVID-19. Financial stressors have the potential to strain intimate relationships and exacerbate prior inequities across lower-income families. Notably, the economic impact of COVID-19 disproportionately influenced Black and Latinx families. As a response to families' economic adversity during the pandemic, the federal government initiated the CARES Act. This type of federal response to lower-income families, however, is not new. The purpose of this paper is to contextualize and historicize previous and current efforts to mitigate the consequences of financial hardship on families by comparing the assumptions and efficacy of the Healthy Marriages Initiative and the CARES act.
Chaos during the COVID-19 outbreak: predictors of household chaos among low-income families during a pandemic

Anna D. Johnson; Anne Martin; Anne Partika (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Family Relations

The objective of this study was to explore whether household chaos measured during the COVID-19 pandemic is predicted by prepandemic parental and household characteristics. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered children's home environments and routines due to stay-at-home orders, school closures, and economic shocks. These disruptions have been especially challenging for low-income families who have limited resources and have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Household chaos, which captures routines, organization, stability, noise, and crowding in the home, is a documented threat to parent functioning and positive child development. The pandemic has likely exacerbated household chaos, especially for low-income families.

Changes in US parents’ domestic labor during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic

Daniel L. Carlson; Richard J. Petts; Joanna R. Pepin

Published: September 2021   Journal: Sociological Inquiry
Stay-at-home orders and the removal of care and domestic supports during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic substantially disrupted US parents’ work and family lives. Although much is known about changes in US parents’ paid labor arrangements, the evidence regarding changes in unpaid domestic labor has been largely anecdotal. This study uses novel data from 1,025 US parents in different-sex partnerships to provide a descriptive overview of changes in mothers’ and fathers’ participation in, and division of, housework and childcare from March 2020 to the early days of the pandemic (late April 2020).
Bullying, cyberbullying, anxiety, and depression in a sample of youth during the Coronavirus pandemic

Elizabeth Englander

Published: September 2021   Journal: Pediatics Reports
While it is well know that the pandemic and its social isolation, loss of school experiences, increased screen use, and financial stress have likely had a psychological impact upon children and teens, little research has been done directly with youth to assess social and emotional factors during the pandemic and in its immediate aftermath. In this study, a sample of 240 youth reported on their experiences with bullying, fighting, sexting, cyberbullying, anxiety, and depression during the period from March 2020 to April 2021.
The negative impact of noise on adolescents’ executive function: an online study in the context of home-learning during a pandemic

Brittney Chere; Natasha Kirkham

Published: September 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
UNICEF estimates that 1.6 billion children across the world have had their education impacted by COVID-19 and have attempted to continue their learning at home. With ample evidence showing a negative impact of noise on academic achievement within schools, the current pre-registered study set out to determine what aspects of the home environment might be affecting these students. Adolescents aged 11–18 took part online, with 129 adolescents included after passing a headphone screening task. They filled out a sociodemographic questionnaire, followed by a home environment and noise questionnaire. Participants then completed three executive function tasks (the Flanker, the Backward Digit Span, and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test) while listening to a soundtrack of either white noise or home-like environmental noise. For purposes of analysis, based on the noise questionnaire, participants were separated into quieter and noisier homes.
Education level and COVID-19 vaccination willingness in adolescents

Elke Humer; Andrea Jesser; Paul L. Plener (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Vaccination is essential to control the COVID-19 pandemic. High vaccination willingness is a key for successful vaccination programs. This study assessed attitudes toward vaccination in Austrian adolescents and determined whether there are differences in vaccination readiness regarding education status, gender and migration background. Two cross-sectional online surveys were conducted from March to July 2021 in apprentices and high school students. Willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccination was rated on a 5-point scale. In total, n = 2006 (n = 1442 apprentices and n = 564 high school students) completed the survey. Willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccination was higher in students compared to apprentices (p < 0.001). Furthermore, migration background (p = 0.023) and female gender (p = 0.001) were associated with lower vaccination willingness. In conclusion, more efforts are required to improve confidence and willingness to vaccinate adolescents with lower educational levels, those with migrant backgrounds and females.
COVID-19 vaccine sentiments among African American or black adolescents in rural Alabama

Henna Budhwani; Tiffani Maycock; Wilnadia Murrell (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health
Considering the urgent need to increase vaccine uptake in Alabama, a rural state with the lowest levels of COVID-19 vaccination in the country, we conducted an exploratory study to elucidate sentiments toward vaccination among African American or Black adolescents. We conducted in-depth interviews with 15-17 year olds in rural Alabama (N=28). About 54% of our sample were female. Nearly a third lived with an older family member; 18% knew someone who contracted COVID-19. Using Rapid Qualitative Analysis, three COVID-19 vaccine-related themes emerged: influence of community leaders and older family members, fear of side effects and mis-information, and institutional distrust.
Longitudinal impact of childhood adversity on early adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in the ABCD study® cohort: does race or ethnicity moderate findings?

Elizabeth A. Stinson; Ryan M. Sullivan; Bridgette J. Peteet (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Biological Psychiatry Global Open Science

During the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, mental health among youth has been negatively impacted. Youth with a history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), as well as youth from minoritized racial-ethnic backgrounds, may be especially vulnerable to experiencing COVID-19-related distress. The current aims are to examine whether exposure to pre-pandemic ACEs predicts mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in youth and whether racial-ethnic background moderated these effects. From May to August 2020, 7,983 youth (Mage= 12.5, range= 10.6-14.6 years old) in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development StudySM (ABCD Study®) completed at least one of three online surveys measuring the impact of the pandemic on their mental health. Data was evaluated in relation to youth’s pre-pandemic mental health and ACEs.

Epidemiological study of violence against children and its increase during the COVID-19 pandemic

Stela Maria Tavolieri de Oliveira; Ewerton Alexandre Galdeano; Evelynne Maria Gomes Galvão da Trindade (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The aim of this study was to identify the epidemiological profiles of violence against children, victims, and their aggressors, and their correlations between socioeconomic and demographic factors analyzed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a cross-sectional, retrospective observational study based on a review of Individual Notification Forms from the Information System for Notifiable Diseases, including child victims of violence, under 18 years, assisted by a pediatric emergency service in Brazil, from 2016–2020. Data were stratified, then statistical analysis was performed using the two-proportion equality test and the Chi-square test, with p < 0.05 and a 95% confidence interval. A total of 609 notifications were analyzed and a prevalence of sexual violence (63.2%) was reported. The prevalent profile of victim was female (76.7%), aged between 2–9 years (38.1%) and 14–18 years (35.6%). The violence occurs in the victim’s home (58.9%). The prevalent profile of perpetrator was male (82.4%), young adolescent (59.2%), living as family (64%), mainly the parents (18.4%).
Why lockdown and distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to increase the social class achievement gap

Sébastien Goudeau; Camille Sanrey; Arnaud Stanczak (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Nature Human Behaviour
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced teachers and parents to quickly adapt to a new educational context: distance learning. Teachers developed online academic material while parents taught the exercises and lessons provided by teachers to their children at home. Considering that the use of digital tools in education has dramatically increased during this crisis, and it is set to continue, there is a pressing need to understand the impact of distance learning. Taking a multidisciplinary view, this study argues that by making the learning process rely more than ever on families, rather than on teachers, and by getting students to work predominantly via digital resources, school closures exacerbate social class academic disparities. To address this burning issue, this study proposes an agenda for future research and outline recommendations to help parents, teachers and policymakers to limit the impact of the lockdown on social-class-based academic inequality.
The 2021 Asia-Pacific girls report

Chamaiporn Siangyen; Caterina Grasso; Reylynne Dela Paz (et al.)

Institution: Plan International
Published: September 2021

The 2021 Asia-Pacific Girls Report is Plan International’s annual research report concerning girls in the Asia-Pacific region. It is part of our contribution towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, committed to equitable and inclusive development for girls and young women. This report highlights both the civic engagement activities of young female activists in the Asia-Pacific and the unique challenges girls and young women face throughout the region. As part of this research, Plan International conducted interviews with sector-based experts and young female activists to assess the current situation in the region. Plan International developed and updated the Asia and Pacific Girls’ Leadership Indexes to measure the opportunities of adolescent girls and young women to develop and demonstrate their leadership capabilities, their unique voice in the region, the gaining of support for their choices and collective and individual power.

Impact of COVID 19 on food security, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health in Yemen
Institution: CARE
Published: September 2021

As of 26 August 2021, the number of reported confirmed COVID-19 cases in Yemen had reached 7,625 with 1,438 associated deaths (WHO) reaching a 19% case fatality rate, which is around five times global average. However, in general, the overall number of cases in Yemen is largely under-reported. The main objective of this assessment was to determine the impact of COVID-19 on food security & livelihoods, gender equality/inequality, and sexual and reproductive health access in the assessment area, with a gender and protection lens. The assessment also aimed to understand the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic in terms of gender roles and relations as well as on access to basic services. The assessment also examined the current coping mechanisms utilized by community members to mitigate the impacts of COVID 19. The assessment was conducted in Salh and Al-Waziyah districts, Taiz Governorate. The two districts were selected to compare the impact of COVID-19 across rural (Al-Waziyah) and urban (Salh) populations. The thematic scope of the assessment covered three main domains related to COVID 19: a) Food Security and Livelihoods; b) Gender Equality/Inequality; and c) Sexual and Reproductive Health. Methodology: Given the scope of the assessment, both quantitative and qualitative approaches were employed for the study. These included: Literature review; 22 Key informant interviews with community leaders, health professionals, government offices and humanitarian actors; 410 household survey (50% men; 50% women); 12 Focus group discussions (50% men; 50% women); and 10 case studies.

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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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