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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Experiences of children with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden: a qualitative interview study

Anna Erica Fäldt; Filippa Klint; Georgina Warner (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: BMJ Paediatrics Open

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disabilities has been described as a ‘triple jeopardy’. Not only have they experienced the negative social impacts of disease control measures, but access to required health services has been affected, and, not least, they are at increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. This study aimed to determine how children with disabilities have experienced the pandemic in Sweden and its impact on their lives.Six children (5–13 years) were interviewed via video conferencing. An interview guide was adapted based on the children’s communicative abilities and included augmentative and alternative communication support. Reflective field notes were included in the analysis. The data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Adolescent smoking, alcohol use, inebriation, and use of narcotics during the Covid-19 pandemic

Sabina Kapetanovic; Birgitta Ander; Sevtap Gurdal (et al.)

Published: February 2022   Journal: BMC Psychology

The aim of the study was to investigate how general family relations, reported changes in family interaction and involvement with peers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and following rules and recommendations during the pandemic relate to adolescent smoking, alcohol use, inebriation, and use of narcotics during Covid-19. An online national survey of Swedish adolescents (n = 1818) aged 15–19 years was conducted in June 2020. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to predict adolescents’ reported change in substance use during the pandemic. Person-oriented analyses, were used to identify clusters of participants characterized by similar patterns of substance use following ANOVA analysis with Scheffe post hoc tests testing differences between clusters in terms of family relations, reported changes in family interaction and involvement with peers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and following rules and recommendations during the pandemic.

Large gaps in the quality of healthcare experienced by Swedish mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study based on WHO standards

Mehreen Zaigham; Karolina Linden; Verena Sengpie (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Women and Birth

To describe the quality of care during pregnancy and childbirth, as reported by the women themselves, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden, using the WHO ‘Standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn care in health facilities’. Using an anonymous, online questionnaire, women ≥18 years were invited to participate if they had given birth in Sweden from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The quality of maternal and newborn care was measured using 40 questions across four domains: provision of care, experience of care, availability of human/physical resources, and organisational changes due to COVID-19.

Experiences of stress: a focus group interview study among Swedish adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic

Moa Hörbo; Camilla Johansson; Tide Garnow (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Journal of school nursing
Adolescence can be a stressful period in life. The period contains challenges associated with the transition from childhood to adulthood (body changes, changes in interpersonal relationships, and identity changes). The aim was to investigate experiences of stress among adolescents in addition to stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Focus group interviews (n = 8) were conducted with girls (n = 22) and boys (n = 19) aged 13-15 in southern Sweden. The transcribed interviews were analyzed with qualitative content analysis. Analysis of the collected material resulted in two categories with four sub-categories each of which highlights adolescents' experiences of stress.
How children in Sweden accessed and perceived information during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic

Lise-Lott Rydström; Charlotte Ångström-Brännström; Lucy Blake (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health

This study aims to describe how children in Sweden accessed and perceived information about SARS-CoV2 and Covid-19 during the first phase of the outbreak. This study is a substudy of an international cross-sectional online mixed methods survey examining elements of children’s health literacy in relation to Covid-19. The survey included multiple-choice questions, open-ended questions and drawings and collected information from 50 Swedish children (7–12 years). Data were analysed concurrently on a descriptive level using statistics and content analysis. Quantitative and qualitative data, including the drawings, were considered equally important and resulted in six categories, illuminating how children accessed and perceived information about the pandemic.

Preterm birth after the introduction of COVID-19 mitigation measures in Norway, Sweden and Denmark: a registry-based difference-in-differences study

Laura L. Oakley; Anne K. Örtqvist; Jonas Kinge (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Although some studies have reported a decrease in preterm birth following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, findings are inconsistent. This study aimed to compare the incidence of preterm birth before and after the introduction of COVID-19 mitigation measures in Scandinavian countries, using robust population-based registry data.

To be or not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – The adolescents’ perspective – A mixed-methods study in Sweden

S. Nilsson; J. Mattson; M. Berghammer (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Vaccine: X
Vaccination of the population seems to be an important strategy in halting the COVID-19 pandemic in both local and global society. The aim of this study was to explore Swedish adolescents’ willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and its association with sociodemographic and other possible factors. A survey was distributed in Sweden between 7 July and 8 November 2020. The main qualitative question concerned adolescents’ thoughts on vaccination against COVID-19 and evaluated whether the adolescents would like to be vaccinated when a COVID-19 vaccine is made available. In total, 702 adolescents aged between 15 and 19 responded to the questionnaire. A convergent parallel mixed-methods design was used.
Insecurity, lack of support, and frustration: a sociological analysis of how three groups of students reflect on their distance education during the pandemic in Sweden

Ida Lidegran; Elisabeth Hultqvist; Emil Bertilsson (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Journal of Education
This article investigates the situation of Swedish upper secondary school students who have been subject to distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. It understands the transition from onsite education to distance education as a recontextualization of pedagogical practice, its framing follows loosely concepts from Bernstein. Given that the field of upper secondary education is highly socially structured it is relevant to enquire into the social dimensions of distance education. For this purpose, the study analysed answers to an open-ended question in a survey answered by 3,726 students, and related them to a cluster analysis distinguishing three main clusters of students: urban upper-middle-class, immigrant working-class, and rural working-class.
Swedish middle school students’ psychosocial well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal study

Emily G. Vira; Therése Skoog

Published: October 2021   Journal: SSM - Population Health
Child well-being concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic have been reported from countries with strict lockdowns and school closures. Sweden's middle school students attended school as normal during the pandemic, but it is still unknown how their well-being has changed during the pandemic. This study aimed to assess differences in Swedish students' psychosocial well-being from before to during the pandemic. Longitudinal data (N = 849) were collected via self-report surveys across two time-points separated by approximately one year. The second data collection took place 8–9 months after the start of the pandemic in Sweden.
Being in the shadow of the unknown — Swedish women’s lived experiences of pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic, a phenomenological study

Karolina Linden; Nimmi Domgren; Mehreen Zaigham (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Women and Birth

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the emotional well-being of expecting mothers. Sweden’s unique strategy for managing COVID-19 involved no national lockdown. Emphasis was instead placed on limiting crowding and asking citizens to practice social distancing measures.This study aimed to gain a deeper understanding of how women not infected by SARS-CoV-2 experienced pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden. This was a qualitative study with a reflective lifeworld approach. Fourteen women that had not contracted COVID-19 and who were pregnant during the first and second wave of the pandemic were interviewed. Data were analysed with a phenomenological reflective lifeworld approach.

Let them do PE! The becoming of Swedish physical education in the age of COVID-19

Seguya Kamoga; Valeria Varea

Published: August 2021   Journal: European Physical Education Review
Sweden received worldwide attention for its approach to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, throughout the pandemic, Sweden was one of the few countries that did not implement any lockdown measures. This meant that primary schools remained open and classes proceeded as usual, including the delivery of physical education (PE). This paper explores PE teachers’ perceptions of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Swedish PE. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with seven PE teachers. Results suggest that teaching PE during COVID-19 has led to disparate challenges and changes for teachers, including modifications in context, content, roles and responsibilities, as well as the handling of issues concerning physical contact and proximity among students and teachers. The conclusions of this study reveal that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the parameters of PE in Sweden are changing more rapidly now than ever before. Understanding how the pandemic has impacted the subject of PE and its delivery might create opportunities for further discussions, possible solutions and subsequent necessary adjustments in dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
Children’s Expressions of Worry During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sweden

Anna Sarkadi; Lisa Sahlin Torp; Anna Pérez-Aronsson

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Pediatric Psychology

Sweden is an international exception in its public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a higher number of deaths, albeit not pediatric, compared with other Nordic countries. The objective of this study was to investigate what worries children and adolescents living in Sweden expressed in relation to the pandemic. Using an anonymous web-survey, 1,047 children (4–12 years; N = 717) and adolescents (13–18 years; N = 330) responded to five background and four open-ended questions, one of which was: Is there anything that you are worried about when it comes to ‘Corona’? The responses were coded using manifest content analysis. Interrater reliability was .95, assessed on the code level.

Discourses of childism: how covid-19 has unveiled prejudice, discrimination and social injustice against children in the everyday

Rebecca Adami; Katy Dineen

Published: June 2021   Journal: The International Journal of Children's Rights
Do children suffer from discriminatory structures in society and how can issues of social injustice against children be conceptualised and studied? The conceptual frame of childism is examined through everyday expressions in the aftermath of policies affecting children in Sweden, the UK and Ireland to develop knowledge of age-based and intersectional discrimination against children. While experiences in Sweden seem to indicate that young children rarely suffer severe symptoms from covid-19, or constitute a driving force in spreading the virus, policy decisions in the UK and Ireland to close down schools have had detrimental effects on children in terms of child hunger and violence against children. Policy decisions that have prioritised adults at the cost of children have unveiled a structural injustice against children, which is mirrored by individual examples of everyday societal prejudice.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and health behaviors in Swedish adolescents

Yun Chen; Walter Osika; Göran Henriksson (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
There is an urgent need to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent mental health and health behaviours. To date, there are no such studies on Swedish adolescents. As COVID-19 emerged in the middle of our ongoing 2-year follow-up examination of the Study of Adolescence Resilience and Stress, this study used the corona outbreak as a ‘natural experiment’ to study the impact of COVID-19 on 15-year-old adolescents in Sweden.
COVID‐19 in pregnancy – characteristics and outcomes of pregnant women admitted to hospital because of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection in the Nordic countries

Hilde Engjom; Anna J. M. Aabakke; Kari Klungsøyr (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica Skip slideshow

Population‐based studies about the consequences of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection (COVID‐19) in pregnancy are few and have limited generalizability to the Nordic population and healthcare systems. This study examines pregnant women with COVID‐19 in the five Nordic countries. Pregnant women were included if they were admitted to hospital between 1 March and 30 June 2020 and had a positive SARS‐CoV‐2 PCR test ≤14 days prior to admission. Cause of admission was classified as obstetric or COVID‐19‐related.

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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.


Read the latest quarterly digest on children and disabilities.

The second digest discussed children and violence during the pandemic.

The first digest covers children and youth mental health under COVID-19.

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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.