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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 1088
Psychological well-being of ruminative adolescents during the transition to COVID-19 school closures: An EMA study

Caroline M. Swords; Emma K. Lecarie; Leah D. Doane (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescence

Adolescents with moderate-to-severe levels of trait rumination are at heightened risk for psychopathology and may be particularly vulnerable to disruptions caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As most past research documenting the impact of COVID-19 on adolescent well-being has been cross-sectional, it is unclear exactly how ruminative adolescents responded to the onset of the pandemic as it unfolded. This study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to explore changes in rumination among adolescents during the initial transition to distance learning in the United States. A subsample of 22 ruminative youth (Mage = 13.58; SD = 0.96; 54.5% male; 86.4% White) from a larger study provided EMA data throughout January–April 2020 (M responses per participant = 105.09, SD = 65.59). Following school closures, the study hypothesized that adolescents would report greater rumination (i.e., focusing on emotions and problems) and depressive symptom level would moderate this effect.

Anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms among high school students in China in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown

Chengqi Cao; Li Wang; Ruojiao Fang (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms, and associated risk factors among a large-scale sample of adolescents from China after the pandemic and lockdown. A total of 57,948 high school students took part in an online survey from July 13 to 29, 2020. The mental health outcomes included anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms. Risk factors included negative family relationships, COVID-19 related exposure, and a lack of social support.

Mental health and social support of caregivers of children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disorders during COVID-19 pandemic

Chongying Wang

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports

Previous studies showed that caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders had higher levels of parenting stress, anxiety and depression. In the present study, the author examined the caregivers’ mental health and investigated the mediating role of social support between symptoms severity and parenting stress during COVID-19. During 20 March to 8 April 2020, 1932 caregivers of children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disorders from China were enrolled to fill in a sociodemographic questionnaire, Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale and Social Support Rating Scale. The author also collected children's disability severity symptoms and behavioral problems.

Innovative methods for remote assessment of neurobehavioral development

Hanna C. Gustafsson; Anna S. Young; Gayle Stamos (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, research institutions across the globe have modified their operations in ways that have limited or eliminated the amount of permissible in-person research interaction. In order to prevent the loss of important developmentally-timed data during the pandemic, researchers have quickly pivoted and developed innovative methods for remote assessment of research participants. This manuscript describes methods developed for remote assessment of a parent child cohort with a focus on examining the perinatal environment, behavioral and biological indicators of child neurobehavioral development, parent-child interaction, as well as parent and child mental and physical health.
Using fake news as means of cyber-bullying: The link with compulsive internet use and online moral disengagement

Alexandra Maftei; Andrei-Corneliu Holman; Ioan-Alex Merlici

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Online moral disengagement and cyberbullying can enhance fake news spreading. We explored the links between these variables and compulsive Internet use in a sample of 509 teenagers and adults aged 11 to 67. We investigated the effect of compulsive Internet use on cyberbullying through fake news creation and/or distribution, both direct and via moral disengagement, and the related differences between adults and teenagers. The indirect effect of compulsive Internet use on cyberbullying through moral disengagement was significant in adolescents, but not in adults. As assumed, teenagers scored significantly higher than adults on all the primary variables. Contrary to our expectations, no significant gender differences emerged, regardless of participants' age, in terms of compulsive Internet use, moral disengagement, nor cyberbullying. The results emphasize the importance of relevant online education programs designed to engage both teenagers and adults in critical thinking that might help in the fake news detection process, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Physically distant, virtually close: Adolescents’ sexting behaviors during a strict lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic

Chelly Maes; Laura Vandenbosch

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
This study contextualizes Belgian adolescents' (12–18 years old) sexting behaviors between romantic and non-romantic partners during a strict lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. An online survey among 543 Belgian respondents (Mage = 15.29, 68% girls) showed that 40.9% of the adolescents engaged in at least one type of sexting (i.e., type one = textual, type two = visual content with underwear/swimwear, type three = visual depiction of private parts, type four = visual depiction of sexual acts). Arousal needs were the most common reasons to sext (M = 3.33, SD = 1.89). Generalized ordered logit analyses show that higher arousal needs were linked to higher frequencies of the first three sexting types. Relational affirmation needs were related to the engagement in sexting type two, whereas partner pressure was related to sexting type three and four. Regarding the latter, a significant link was also found with stress regulation. Conditional relations emerged according to adolescents' sex, developmental status, and relationship status. The current study's findings not only help to inform practitioners in terms of behavioral advice for future pandemics or periods after social isolation, but can also offer explanations for (changes in) adolescents' sexting behaviors after the pandemic and the possible dual nature of its effects.
Internet use during COVID-19 lockdown among young people in low- and middle-income countries: Role of psychological wellbeing

Blossom Fernandes; Bilge Uzun; Caner Aydin (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Addictive Behaviors Reports
Problematic internet use in adolescents has been shown to significantly increase over the past few years, with COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns reinforcing this phenomena globally. This study sought to explore whether problematic internet use in specific countries was related to emotional well-being and importantly whether this is predicted by psychological distress. There is a growing number of studies showing that problematic internet use is increasingly prevalent in countries with emerging economies, however we have yet to find out to what extent other factors are influencing this behaviour in adolescents and young people. This study invited young people from countries such India, Mexico, Philippines and Turkey to complete a set of self-reports on their daily internet habits, social media use, alongside questions on psychological distress, self-esteem, loneliness and escapism.
Cybervictimization and well-being among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: The mediating roles of emotional self-efficacy and emotion regulation

Fabian Schunk; Franziska Zeh; Gisela Trommsdorff

Published: October 2021   Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
Cybervictimization has been linked to adverse psychological consequences but little is known about the mechanisms linking cybervictimization to lower well-being. Two studies examined emotional self-efficacy and distinct emotion regulation strategies as potential mediators in the relationship between cybervictimization and lower well-being among German adolescents during the school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. In Study 1, 107 adolescents (Mage = 15.76) reported their cybervictimization frequency, emotional self-efficacy beliefs, and aspects of well-being (i.e., self-esteem, perceived social support, and subjective well-being during the COVID-19 related school closures). Emotional self-efficacy mediated the link between cybervictimization and all well-being measures. Specifically, cybervictimization was related to lower well-being through lower self-efficacy for managing negative emotions. For further examination, in Study 2, 205 adolescents (Mage = 15.45) were asked to report their cybervictimization experiences, use of specific emotion regulation strategies (rumination, reappraisal, and suppression), and well-being (i.e., self-esteem and life satisfaction).
Mental health trajectories of individuals and families following the COVID-19 pandemic: Study protocol of a longitudinal investigation and prevention program

Till Langhammer; Kevin Hilbert; Berit Praxl (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Mental Health & Prevention

Many adults, adolescents and children are suffering from persistent stress symptoms in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to characterize long-term trajectories of mental health and to reduce the transition to manifest mental disorders by means of a stepped care program for indicated prevention. Using a prospective-longitudinal design, we will assess the mental strain of the pandemic using the Patient Health QuestionnaireStrength and Difficulties Questionnaire and Spence Child Anxiety Scale.

The State of the World's Children 2021: on my mind: promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health

Brian Keeley; Juliano Diniz de Oliveira; Tara Dooley

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the mental health of a generation of children. But the pandemic may represent the tip of a mental health iceberg – an iceberg we have ignored for far too long. The State of the World’s Children 2021 examines child, adolescent and caregiver mental health. It focuses on risks and protective factors at critical moments in the life course and delves into the social determinants that shape mental health and well-being. It calls for commitment, communication and action as part of a comprehensive approach to promote good mental health for every child, protect vulnerable children and care for children facing the greatest challenges.

Italian adolescents’ adjustment before and during the coronavirus disease 2019: A comparison between mothers’ and adolescents’ perception

Alessandra Babore; Mara Morelli; Carmen Trumello

Published: September 2021   Journal: British Journal of Clinical Psychology
The current cross-sectional study aimed to analyse adolescents’ adjustment during and before the lockdown caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, by evaluating levels of emotional problems and hyperactivity as referred by adolescents themselves. A further purpose was to compare adolescents’ and mothers’ perception about adolescents’ adjustment. Participants comprised 206 adolescents (50.5% females; mean age = 12.2; SD = 3.3) and their mothers (mean age = 43.9; SD = 5.9).
Mental health and well-being impacts of COVID-19 on rural paramedics, police, community nurses and child protection workers

Russell Roberts; Alfred Wong; Stacey Jenkins (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Australian Journal of Rural Health

This study aims to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and well-being of rural paramedics, police, community nursing and child protection staff. An online survey was distributed to investigate the sources of stress and support across individual, task and organisational domains. The survey was completed by 1542 paramedics, police, community nurses and child protection workers from all states and territories of Australia. This study describes the data for the 632 rural participants. The main measures of well-being were the Public Health Questionnaire (PHQ9), the Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD7), the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), workplace engagement, intention to quit and COVID-19–related stress.

Analysis of the SPARK study COVID-19 parent survey: Early impact of the pandemic on access to services, child/parent mental health, and benefits of online services

Anjana Bhat

Published: September 2021   Journal: Autism Research
Children with ASD receive a multitude of educational, medical, and therapeutic services. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of these services came to a complete halt following strict lockdowns. Many services have resumed in a hybrid format using face to face and virtual modes of delivery. This study describes findings from the COVID-19 impact survey administered at the onset of the pandemic in a subgroup of families from the SPARK cohort (N = 6393), one of the largest ASD cohorts in the US. The differential early impact of COVID-19 on various subgroups of children with ASD and their families was examined. Caregivers of children and adolescents with ASD between 19 months and 18 years completed an online survey inquiring about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on access to services, parent concerns about the same, impact on child's ASD-related behaviors, child, and parent mental health, and the benefits/potential benefits of online/future online services.
The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of caregivers of autistic children and youth: A scoping review

Vivian Lee; Carly Albaum; Paula Tablon Modica (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Autism Research
Caregivers and families of autistic people have experienced stress and increase in demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic that may have long-term negative consequences for both their own and their children's mental health. A scoping review was conducted to identify pandemic related demands experienced by caregivers and families of autistic children and youth. The review also consolidated information on coping strategies and parenting-related guidelines that have emerged to help parents meet these demands. Search strategies were approved by a research librarian and were conducted in peer-reviewed and gray literature databases between May 2020 and February 2021. Additional resources were solicited through author networks and social media. All articles were published between December 2019 and February 2021. Article summaries were charted, and a thematic analysis was conducted with confirmation of findings with our knowledge users. Twenty-three published articles and 14 pieces of gray literature were included in the review.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on mental well-being of Norwegian adolescents during the first wave—socioeconomic position and gender differences

Arnhild Myhr; Linn Renée Naper; Indira Samarawickrema (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health
The lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has been called a crisis in mental health, and adolescents may have been among the most affected. Comparing the first period of societal lockdown in spring 2020 to periods going back to 2014 using a rich cross-sectional dataset based on repeated surveys, we explore the potential changes in self-reported mental well-being across sociodemographic groups among Norway's adolescents. Norway closed schools and implemented strict restrictions in March 2020; an electronic questionnaire survey was distributed to lower secondary school students in Trøndelag county (N = 2,443) in May 2020. Results were compared with similar surveys conducted annually in the same county dating back to 2014. Logistic regression models were applied to investigate potential changes in depressive symptoms, loneliness, and quality of life and life satisfaction, and to detect possible differences in the impact of lockdown between the genders and socioeconomic groups.
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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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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.