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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
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1 - 15 of 1414
COVID-19 news consumption and distress in young people: a systematic review

Michelle A. Strasser; Philip J. Sumner; Denny Meyer

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of affective disorders

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges for the mental health of young people. The volume, negative content and potential for misinformation within COVID-19 related news can be an additional cause of distress. This systematic review aims to synthesise the research findings on the relationship between COVID-19 news and distress in young people. Following the PRISMA guidelines, PubMed, Web of Science, and PsycINFO databases were searched on 24 April 2021 for articles that contained empirical research examining the association between COVID-19 news consumption and mental health in samples of young people with a mean age between 10 and 24 years.

Residential green space is associated with a buffering effect on stress responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in mothers of young children, a prospective study

Stijn Vos; Esmée M. Bijnens; Eleni Renaers (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Environmental research
Green spaces are associated with increased well-being and reduced risk of developing psychiatric disorders. This study aimed to investigate how residential proximity to green spaces was associated with stress response buffering during the COVID-19 pandemic in a prospective cohort of young mothers. It collected information on stress in 766 mothers (mean age: 36.6 years) from the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort at baseline of the study (from 2010 onwards), and during the COVID-19 pandemic (from December 2020 until May 2021). Self-reported stress responses due to the COVID-19 pandemic were the outcome measure. Green space was quantified in several radiuses around the residence based on high-resolution (1 m2) data. Using ordinal logistic regression, the odds of better resistance to reported stress was estimated, while controlling for age, socio-economic status, stress related to care for children, urbanicity, and household change in income during the pandemic.
Disentangling the diversity of profiles of adaptation in youth during COVID-19

Martine Hebert; Amelie Tremblay-Perreault; Arianne Jean-Thorn (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports

The COVID-19 outbreak has major psychosocial consequences on the global population and specialists report that youth may be significantly impacted. Adolescents and young adults, for whom social life is an important protective factor, had to face a new isolation caused by social distancing and home schooling. This study aims to explore youth's profiles of adaptation to COVID-19 pandemic in the province of Quebec, Canada, and the risk factors and strengths associated with each profile. A sample of 4936 youth living in Quebec were recruited on social media and filled out an online survey during the lockdown of the first wave of COVID-19. They completed measures of psychological distress, positive adaptation (well-being, resilience), risk factors (alexithymia and emotional dysregulation), COVID-related worries and fear of contamination and COVID-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Network analysis of depressive and anxiety symptoms in adolescents during and after the COVID-19 outbreak peak

Rui Liu; Xu Chen; Han Qi (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of affective disorders

This study examined the extent to which the network structure of anxiety and depression among adolescents identified during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic could be cross-validated in a sample of adolescents assessed after the COVID-19 peak. Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted between February 20 and 27, 2020 and between April 11 and 19, 2020, respectively. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were assessed using 20-item the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression and 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder, respectively. Anxiety-depression networks of the first and second assessments were estimated separately using a sparse Graphical Gaussian Model combined with the graphical least absolute shrinkage and selection operator method. A Network Comparison Test was conducted to assess differences between the two networks.

Impact of COVID-19 on adolescent travel behavior

Jianrong Liu; Qiongwen Cao; Mingyang Pei

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of transport & health

The outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly impacted travel behavior. However, few studies have analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on adolescent travel behavior. This article analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on adolescent travel behavior using questionnaire survey data. This paper first used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to explore the psychological factors related to the adolescents' perceptions about the severity of COVID-19. The study then established a logit model to study the effects of COVID-19 in different phases (before, during, and after the epidemic peak), demographic characteristics, and the role of psychological factors on their travel behavior.

Media use and emotional distress under COVID-19 lockdown in a clinical sample referred for internalizing disorders: a Swiss adolescents' perspective

Anna Maria Werling; Susanne Walitza; Miriam Gerstenberg (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Psychiatric Research
The COVID-19 outbreak has profoundly affected adolescents' life. Adolescents with pre-existing psychiatric disorders have been at particular risk of increased mental health problems and problematic media use. 178 patients, aged 12–18 years, referred before the COVID-19 outbreak to child and adolescent psychiatry, participated in an anonymous online survey on the impact of the lockdown on media use and mental well-being. The survey was conducted approximately one month after the first easing of restrictions following a six-week lockdown in Switzerland. Based on self-report, half of the patients had been diagnosed with internalizing disorders (ID; depression or anxiety disorder) and the other half with other disorders (non-ID, e.g. ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder).
An explainable machine learning approach for COVID-19’s impact on mood states of children and adolescents during the first lockdown in Greece

Charis Ntakolia; Dimitrios Priftis; Mariana Charakopoulou-Travlou (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Healthcare
The global spread of COVID-19 led the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic on 11 March 2020. To decelerate this spread, countries have taken strict measures that have affected the lifestyles and economies. Various studies have focused on the identification of COVID-19’s impact on the mental health of children and adolescents via traditional statistical approaches. However, a machine learning methodology must be developed to explain the main factors that contribute to the changes in the mood state of children and adolescents during the first lockdown. Therefore, in this study an explainable machine learning pipeline is presented focusing on children and adolescents in Greece, where a strict lockdown was imposed. The target group consists of children and adolescents, recruited from children and adolescent mental health services, who present mental health problems diagnosed before the pandemic. The proposed methodology imposes: (i) data collection via questionnaires; (ii) a clustering process to identify the groups of subjects with amelioration, deterioration and stability to their mood state; (iii) a feature selection process to identify the most informative features that contribute to mood state prediction; (iv) a decision-making process based on an experimental evaluation among classifiers; (v) calibration of the best-performing model; and (vi) a post hoc interpretation of the features’ impact on the best-performing model.
Comparison of self-harm or overdose among adolescents and young adults before vs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario

Joel G. Ray; Peter C. Austin; Kayvan Aflaki (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: JAMA Network Open

Self-harm and deaths among adolescents and young adults are notably related to drug poisonings and suicide. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are projections about a greater likelihood of such events arising among adolescents and young adults. To evaluate the risk of self-harm, overdose, and all-cause mortality among adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. This population-based cohort study took place in Ontario, Canada, where a universal health care system captures all emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. The participants included all adolescents and young adults born in Ontario between 1990 and 2006, who were aged 14 to 24 years between March 1, 2018, and June 30, 2021.

Association between homeschooling and adolescent sleep duration and health during COVID-19 pandemic high school closures

Joëlle N. Albrecht; Helene Werner; Noa Rieger (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: JAMA Network Open

Although negative associations of COVID-19 pandemic high school closures with adolescents’ health have been demonstrated repeatedly, some research has reported a beneficial association of these closures with adolescents’ sleep. The present study was, to our knowledge, the first to combine both perspectives. This study aimed to investigate associations between adolescents’ sleep and health-related characteristics during COVID-19 pandemic school closures in Switzerland. This survey study used cross-sectional online surveys circulated among the students of 21 public high schools in Zurich, Switzerland. The control sample completed the survey under regular, prepandemic conditions (May to July 2017) and the lockdown sample during school closures (May to June 2020). Survey respondents were included in the study if they provided their sex, age, and school.

Increased behavioral health needs and continued psychosocial stress among children with medical complexity and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jonna von Schulz; Verena Serrano; Melissa Buchholz (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Infant Mental Health Journal

Children with medical complexity (CMC) and their caregivers are at increased risk for multiple psychosocial stressors that can impact child and family well-being and health outcomes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when access to supports diminished, psychosocial screening and integrated behavioral health (IBH) services in the primary care setting were crucial in identifying and addressing the unique needs of this population. Universal screening to identify psychosocial needs was implemented in a primary care clinic for CMC that includes IBH services. Data on the prevalence of psychosocial screening and IBH services for young children and their caregivers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic were evaluated.

Psychological distress and experiences of adolescents and young adults with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional survey

Camille Glidden; Kaitlyn Howden; Razvan G. Romanescu (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Psycho-Oncology

This study investigated prevalence of psychological distress, factors associated with distress, and experiences of Adolescents and Young Adults (AYAs) with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also compared distress in this group to previously surveyed Canadian AYAs with cancer in 2018 by the Young Adults with Cancer in their Prime (YACPRIME) study. A cross-sectional, online, self-administered survey of AYAs diagnosed with cancer between 15 and 39 years of age was conducted. Psychological distress was measured by the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Associations between variables and high psychological distress (K10 ≥ 25), and comparison of prevalence of psychological distress with the YACPRIME study were done using multivariable logistic regression. Summative qualitative content analysis analyzed participant experiences during this pandemic.

Adolescent loneliness, stress and depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: the protective role of friends

Guadalupe Espinoza; Hannah L. Hernandez

Published: January 2022   Journal: Infant and Child Development
The current study examines if perceived negative changes due to COVID-19 are related to adolescent loneliness, stress and depressive symptoms and whether friendship factors (online friend communication, friend support) serve a protective role in these associations. In total, 993 adolescents (Mage = 16.09, SD = 1.24) from ethnically diverse backgrounds (49% White, 18% Asian/Asian-American, 14% Latinx, 9% Black/African-American, 10% Other) in the United States completed an online survey. Adolescents who perceived more negative changes due to COVID-19 reported more loneliness, stress and depressive symptoms. For loneliness and stress, these associations were qualified by interactions with the friendship factors. Among adolescents with low online friend communication, as perceived negative changes increased, loneliness also increased. At high levels of friend communication, there was no link between negative COVID-19 changes and loneliness. Friend communication and support may protect adolescents from well-being problems stemming from the negative changes in their life due to COVID-19.
Association between mask wearing and anxiety symptoms during the outbreak of COVID 19: a large survey among 386,432 junior and senior high school students in China

Qingqing Xu; Zhenxing Mao; Dandan Wei (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Psychosomatic Research

This study aims to evaluate the association between mask wearing practice and the risk of anxiety symptoms during the COVID-19 epidemic among Chinese students aged 12–18 years old. Totally, 386,432 junior and senior high school students were recruited using a cluster sampling method across three cities of Henan Province in China during February 4–12, 2020. Mask wearing practice was defined according to its type and the behavior exhibited in relation to wearing a mask. Presence of anxiety symptoms was determined by Generalized Anxiety Disorder tool (GAD-7). Multiple logistic regression was performed to estimate the association between mask wearing and anxiety symptoms.

Associations between adolescents’ prosocial experiences and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lauren M. Alvis; Robyn D. Douglas; Natalie J. Shook (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Current Psychology
Natural disasters and times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are extremely stressful events, with severe mental health consequences. However, such events also provide opportunities for prosocial support between citizens, which may be related to mental health symptoms and interpersonal needs. This study examined adolescents’ prosocial experiences as both actors and recipients during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and assessed whether these experiences were associated with indicators of mental health. Adolescents (N = 426; 78% female) aged 13 to 20 years (Mage = 16.43, SD = 1.10; 63.6% White, 12.9% Hispanic/Latinx, 8.5% Asian, 4.2% Black, 2.8% Native American) were recruited across the US in early April of 2020. Participants reported on their COVID-19 prosocial experiences (helping others, receiving help) and mental health (depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, burdensomeness, belongingness). Multiple regression models indicated greater engagement in COVID-19 prosocial behavior was associated with greater anxiety symptoms and greater burdensomeness.
Psychosocial impact of 8 weeks COVID-19 quarantine on Italian parents and their children

Bassem J. Khoory; Maya W. Keuning; Anne C. Fledderus (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Maternal and Child Health Journal

Italy was affected greatly by Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), emerging mainly in the Italian province of Lombardy. This outbreak led to profound governmental interventions along with a strict quarantine. This quarantine may have psychosocial impact on children and parents in particular. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of 8 weeks COVID-19 quarantine on psychosocial functioning of Italian parents and their children. In this cross-sectional survey, we included parents and children resided in Italy during the 8 weeks COVID-19 quarantine. We evaluated social and emotional functioning, clinical symptoms possibly related to emotional distress, and change in perspectives using a questionnaire.

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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.