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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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On my mind: how adolescents experience and perceive mental health around the world

Shoshanna Fine; Michelle Martinez

Institution: *UNICEF, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Published: May 2022

Adolescence is a particularly sensitive period for the emergence of mental health conditions. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 13 per cent of adolescents globally live with a mental disorder, and many more experience significant psychosocial distress that does not rise to the level of a diagnosable disorder. The most widespread of these mental health conditions include symptoms of anxiety and depression, with rates increasing dramatically throughout adolescence, particularly among girls. Other prevalent challenges include drug and alcohol abuse, conduct disorders, eating disorders and suicidal behaviours. Taken together, approximately 75 per cent of lifetime mental health conditions manifest by age 24. To better understand mental health issues and concerns from the voices of adolescents, 71 focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted by 14 partner organizations in 13 countries: Belgium (francophone and Flemish), Chile, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States of America. The countries were selected to ensure geographic, economic and cultural diversity. This report summarizes the results of these FGDs with qualitative research coordinated, analysed and drafted by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) in collaboration with global partners and as part of UNICEF’s flagship report, The State of the World’s Children 2021: On My Mind – Promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health.

COVID-19 and youth violence: views from the frontline

Carole Gibbs; Alaina De Biasi; Jennifer E. Cobbina-Dungy (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Journal of Crime and Justice
Violent crime tends to be concentrated in economically disadvantaged, racially minoritized communities, particularly among youth. Emerging research suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated the drivers of violence in these communities but provides limited insight into its effects in a single locale, especially small to mid-size cities, and on those on the frontlines of youth violence (i.e., youth service workers). The current study provides an in-depth, qualitative examination of these dynamics in vulnerable neighborhoods in Lansing, Michigan, centering the voices of those instrumental to violence prevention and community resilience. Specifically, it explores youth service providers’ perceptions of how COVID-19 changed youth violence and impacted families, communities, and organizations working to prevent and control youth violence. It uses the socioecological model adopted by the public health field to explain and prevent violence to guide our work, as this framework recognizes the interlocking and interactive effects of systemic, community, and relational experiences on youth behavior.
Development and evaluation of a blended learning mindfulness program for high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mi-Jung Kang; Hyunsook Kim

Published: May 2022   Journal: The Journal of school nursing
Many adolescents worldwide suffer from stress or unhealthy emotional states such as depression. There is a trend toward limited physical contact via social distancing practices that developed during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. An experimental study aimed at investigating the effects of a mindfulness program on stress, concentration, self-esteem, and self-control in high school students. A 10-week mindfulness intervention was provided to the experimental group (n = 89) from September-November 2020, while the control group (n = 89) received general health education. Four weeks after the program, the experimental group showed reduced stress and improved concentration, self-esteem, and self-control compared to baseline.
Psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in children with autism spectrum disorder - a literature review

Saeed Ahmed; Aunsa Hanif; Ikram Khaliq (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: International Journal of Developmental Disabilities

This review summarizes evidence pertaining to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological health of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An electronic search was conducted using four major databases: PubMed, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Using an umbrella methodology, the reference lists of relevant papers were reviewed, and citation searches were conducted. The study included articles written in English between January 2020 and March 2021 that focused on the psychological health of autistic children and adolescents.

Children academic stress, mothers’ anxiety and mother-child relationship during COVID-19 in China

Alain Rodrigue; Tchimtchoua Tamo

Published: April 2022   Journal: Health Care for Women International
In this study, the researcher aims to examine and provide some knowledge of COVID-19 impact on mother-child relationship, children perceived academic stress and mothers’ anxiety among families in mainland China (N = 1512). The researcher confirms that mental health symptoms resulting from Covid-19 are significant, with extensive impacts on mothers’ anxieties, children’s academic stress, and mother-child conflict and closeness. The researcher also show significant link between students’ tremendous academic stress and students completing their final grade. The author highlights the need for health policies to expand families’ psychological well-being especially in crisis time.
Lockdown practices: a portrait of young people in the family during the first lockdown in Portugal

Ana Sofia Ribeiro; Maria Manuel Vieira; Ana Nunes de Almeida

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of Youth Studies
Governments introduced protective public health measures, including lockdowns and social distancing, in response to the unprecedented global crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. For young people, such measures are particularly painful, as they entail an interruption of their transitions to adulthood, which generally require taking up their position in the public space and emerging as a recognised social peer, either through leaving the parental home, initiating an intimate relationship or getting a full-time job. In Portugal, where such transitions are often postponed, and young people cohabit with parents for much longer, lockdown meant withdrawal from the public space and living in an intensive family collective. This brought many challenges and created tension. Based on the results of a non-representative online survey on the impacts of the pandemic in Portugal, this article focuses how young people aged 16–24 adapted to the 2020 lockdown, using the conceptual lens of familialism. The results show that familialism remains a key support system in adversity, evidencing intergenerational solidarity through everyday practices of resilience and (self-) care, renewing and remaking social bonds. Individual distancing practices are deployed backstage, however, mitigating and nuancing the overwhelming hold of familialism.
Emotional Impact in Adolescents in Ecuador six months after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic

María Fernanda Coello; Selene Valero-Moreno; Juan Sebastián Herrera (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: The Journal of Psychology

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the emotional health of adolescents, especially those with low resilience and life satisfaction. The aim is to analyze the predictors of anxiety, depression, and stress among adolescents in Ecuador during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 586 adolescents from Ecuador aged between 12–18 years (M = 15.30; SD = 1.28). Satisfaction, resilience, anxiety, depression, stress and worries about COVID-19 were assessed. Structural equation models (SEM) and models based on qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) were performed.

High school students’ social jetlag, lifelong competency, and academic stress during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study

Soo Yeon Lee; Sun Joo Jang

Published: April 2022   Journal: The Journal of school nursing
With the prolongation of non-ordinary situations such as school closures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, high school students have experienced irregular sleep-wake cycles and elevated academic stress resulting from reduced academic achievement and widened gaps in academic performance. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the associations among chronotype, social jetlag, lifelong learning competency, and academic stress in high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected through an online survey from May–June 2021.
Mood and behaviors of adolescents with depression in a longitudinal study before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Neda Sadeghi; Payton Q. Fors; Lillian Eisner (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

To investigate whether, compared to pre-pandemic levels, depressive and anxiety symptoms in adolescents with depression increased during the pandemic. This study used data from National Institute of Mental Health Characterization and Treatment of Depression (NIMH CAT-D) cohort, a longitudinal case-control study that started pre-pandemic. Most of the participants are from the states of Maryland and Virginia in the United States. It compared depressive symptoms (1,820 measurements; 519 measurements pre-pandemic and 1,302 during the pandemic) and anxiety symptoms (1,800 measurements; 508 measurements pre-pandemic and 1,292 ratings during the pandemic) of 166 adolescents (109 girls, 96 adolescents with depression) before and during the pandemic. Data were collected during yearly clinical visits, interim 4-month follow-up visits, inpatient stays, and weekly outpatient sessions, with additional data collection during the pandemic.

Prospective examination of adolescent emotional intelligence and post-traumatic growth during and after COVID-19 lockdown

Wanjie Tang; Zhouxingyu Yan; Yi Lu (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of affective disorders
While there have been some studies examining the post-traumatic growth (PTG) responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, few have been longitudinal studies exploring the changes over time or examining the underlying psychological PTG mechanisms. This study examined whether baseline perceived emotional intelligence (EI) predicted PTG through self-esteem and emotional regulation (ER) in a five-month follow-up study conducted on Chinese adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Association between family financial decline due to COVID-19 and generalized anxiety disorder among Korean adolescents

Yun Hwa Jung; Bich Na Jang; Minah Park (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Journal of affective disorders

COVID-19 has had a worldwide economic impact. A decline in family financial level can adversely affect adolescents' mental health. This study examined the association between perceived family financial decline due to COVID-19 and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) among South Korean adolescents. Data from 54,948 middle and high school students from the 2020 Korea Youth Risk Behavior Survey were collected in this cross-sectional study. The effect of the perceived family financial decline due to COVID-19 related to GAD was analyzed using binary and multinomial logistic regression.

Children and adolescents' ingroup biases and developmental differences in evaluations of peers Who misinform

Aqsa Farooq; Eirini Ketzitzidou Argyri; Anna Adlam (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Previous developmental research shows that young children display a preference for ingroup members when it comes to who they accept information from – even when that information is false. However, it is not clear how this ingroup bias develops into adolescence, and how it affects responses about peers who misinform in intergroup contexts, which is important to explore with growing numbers of young people on online platforms. Given that the developmental span from childhood to adolescence is when social groups and group norms are particularly important, the present study took a Social Reasoning Developmental Approach. This study explored whether children and adolescents respond differently to a misinformer spreading false claims about a peer breaking COVID-19 rules, depending on (a) the group membership of the misinformer and their target and (b) whether the ingroup had a “critical” norm that values questioning information before believing it.
The influence of a school social network intervention on adolescent's health behaviors: a gender-specific agent-based model

Shu Zhang; Tianyi Xiao; Jie He

Published: April 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Public Health
Adolescence is a crucial stage for health behavior development, which is associated with health in adulthood. School closures caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have exposed adolescents to an increased risk of obesity due to a lack of physical activity. Although social network interventions provide an effective approach for promoting health-related behavior, current practices neglect gender differences in adolescent behavioral patterns and emotional preferences. The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of centrality-based methods integrated with of gender contexts in a social network intervention to improve adolescent's health behavior.
Nutritional intakes of highly trained adolescent swimmers before, during, and after a national lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic

Josh W. Newbury; Wee Lun Foo; Matthew Cole (et al.)

Published: April 2022   Journal: Plos One
Strict lockdown measures were introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused mass disruption to adolescent swimmers’ daily routines. To measure how lockdown impacted nutritional practices in this cohort, three-day photograph food diaries were analysed at three time points: before (January), during (April), and after (September) the first UK lockdown. Thirteen swimmers (aged 15 ± 1 years) from a high-performance swimming club submitted satisfactory food diaries at all time points.
Stress among the higher secondary school students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Seema Rani Das; Parishmita Deka; Prasanta Das

Published: April 2022   Journal: The International Journal of Health Sciences
In the present study an investigation was done on the level of stress of the higher secondary level students once affected by COVID- 19 virus and later recovered and students who were never affected by the virus. For this purpose descriptive survey was done and a total number of 100 students from higher secondary level were selected using Purposive Sampling as sample of the study. The researcher adopted Students Stress Scale developed by Dr. Zaki Akhtar.
1 - 15 of 610

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.