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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 169
Care, coping, and connection under COVID-19: insights on couple relationships from a follow-up to the Bandebereho randomized controlled trial in Rwanda

Kate Doyle; Deboleena Rakshit; Ruti Levtov (et al.)

Institution: Promundo
Published: November 2021
The Care, Coping and Connection under COVID-19 report presents findings from a phone survey with 500 couples in Rwanda, examining the impact of the pandemic on stress, caregiving, and family relationships. The study builds on a randomized controlled trial of the Bandebereho intervention to examine the longer-term (five-year) impact of the intervention on participating families. The data suggest that while the pandemic has been hard on many families, Bandebereho participants have tended to fare better than those in the control group, suggesting long-lasting impacts of the intervention on key outcomes related to men’s engagement in care work and on couple and family relations.
Empowered women. empowered children
Published: November 2021

Every child deserves to reach her or his full potential wherever they live. Yet, achieving positive child well-being outcomes remains a challenge globally. COVID-19 has further exacerbated children’s existing vulnerabilities and amplified inequalities, especially in fragile contexts. As part of its mandate to help the most vulnerable children achieve their full potential, World Vision focuses on child well-being programmes that aim to improve key child well-being outcomes. Ten years of conflict in Syria have aggravated gender inequalities and the risks of violence for women and girls inside and outside the country. To increase the focus on gender-responsive programmes that respond to the strategic needs of women, World Vision (WV) Syria Response conducted a piece of research that aimed to better understand the connection between Syrian mothers’ and children’s well-being and identify impactful approaches that effectively address both. Specifically, the research explored women’s empowerment and children’s well-being factors in Syria and selected host countries. It looked at how women’s socio-demographic factors and empowerment components influence physical, emotional, mental, and psycho-social child well-being. A cross-sectional observation methodology was developed using convenience sampling in Northwest Syria (NWS) and Government of Syria (GoS) areas, Jordan, and Turkey. The research targeted World Vision’s beneficiary children living in structured families and their mothers. The survey results were complemented key informant interviews (KIIs) with mothers and their children.

The effect of COVID-19-related school closures on students’ well-being: evidence from Danish nationwide panel data

Simon Skovgaard Jensen; David Reimer

Published: November 2021   Journal: SSM - Population Health
This study aims to determine the effect of the temporary closure of Danish schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 on students' reported levels of well-being and test whether the effect varies among students of different socioeconomic status. To this end, it draws on panel data from the mandatory annual nationwide Danish Student Well-being Survey (DSWS) and exploit random variation in whether students answered the 2020 survey before or during the spring lockdown period.
Family vulnerability, disruption, and chaos predict parent and child COVID-19 health-protective behavior adherence

Gregory M. Fosco; Emily J. LoBraico; Carlie J. Sloan (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Families, Systems, & Health
This study examined the role of family functioning in predicting family adherence to health-protective behaviors (HPBs) aimed at reducing COVID-19 spread. Pre-COVID-19 family functioning, disruptions to family functioning (cohesion, conflict, routines), and family chaos during the COVID-19 pandemic were tested as pathways to HPB adherence. A sample of N = 204 families was utilized, comprising parents who had children (MAge = 4.17). Parents (MAge = 27.43) completed one survey prior to COVID-19 onset in the United States, and twice during COVID-19, at a 2-week interval. Structural equation modeling was used to test three potential pathways between prepandemic family-level functioning and HPB adherence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young children’s play during a time of social distancing

Courtney Beers Dewhirst; Casey Cascio; Erin M. Casey

Published: October 2021   Journal: Early Child Development and Care
Through a 48-item questionnaire shared via social media, 546 participants from 47 American States reported on their children’s (ages 0–8) play activities during early social distancing efforts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis. Results from the questionnaire indicate participants took social distancing guidelines seriously by keeping children at home and away from other children during the period of social distancing, thus affecting play behaviours. The study’s findings are significant in that they document some parents’ perspectives of their children’s play during a unique period in American history.
‘I think it’s been difficult for the ones that haven’t got as many resources in their homes’: teacher concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on pupil learning and wellbeing

Lisa E. Kim; Suzanna Dundas; Kathryn Asbury

Published: October 2021   Journal: Teachers and Teaching
School closures due to COVID-19 have been predicted to have a large impact on pupils’ learning and wellbeing. Systematic evidence about teachers’ perceptions of what challenges their pupils have faced, and how they have been addressing these challenges, will be important for post-pandemic planning. 24 teachers from English state mainstream primary and secondary schools were interviewed in June 2020 and asked to describe the impact of partial school closures on their pupils’ learning and wellbeing, and how they had been addressing challenges as individual teachers and at the whole school level. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Six themes were identified: (a) pedagogy and process, (b) communication with pupils and families, (c) life at home, (d) the role of parents, (e) a COVID-19 curriculum, and (f) moving forwards and making plans.
Socio-emotional struggles of young children during COVID-19 pandemic: social isolation and increased use of technologies

Raden Pasifikus Christa Wijaya; Beatriks Novianti Bunga; Indra Yohanes Kiling (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Research
COVID-19 pandemic has caused young children to be isolated from their neighborhood only interacting with people living under the same roof as them, to avoid spreading the virus. Limited social interaction might have affected young children’s social and emotional development. This study aimed to explore the socio-emotional struggles of young children during the pandemic. Participants in the study were 12 mothers of young children living in West Timor, Indonesia. Data were obtained using the photovoice method. Thematic analysis resulted in four main themes, which are increased use of technologies, lack of social interaction, parents’ concerns, and boredom and increased need for stimuli.
Children and adolescents’ lived experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jacqueline M. Swank; Jo Lauren Weaver; Alena Prikhidko (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: The Family Journal
The COVID-19 pandemic affected people across the life span, including children and adolescents. This study focuses on exploring the lived experiences of children and adolescents in the United States during the pandemic. 12 children and adolescents have been interviewed in April 2020 and four themes were identified: (a) change in school environment, (b) connection, (c) creative celebrations, and (d) hope. Limitations, recommendations for future research, and implications for counseling are discussed.
Impact of COVID-19 restrictions on preschool children’s eating, activity and sleep behaviours: a qualitative study

Joanne Clarke; Ruth Kipping; Stephanie Chambers

Published: October 2021   Journal: BMJ Open
In spring 2020, the first COVID-19 national lockdown placed unprecedented restrictions on the behaviour and movements of the UK population. Citizens were ordered to ‘stay at home’, only allowed to leave their houses to buy essential supplies, attend medical appointments or exercise once a day. This study explored how lockdown and its subsequent easing changed young children’s everyday activities, eating and sleep habits to gain insight into the impact for health and well-being.
Tweens are not teens: the problem of amalgamating broad age groups when making pandemic recommendations

Brae Anne McArthur; Sheri Madigan; Daphne J. Korczak

Published: October 2021   Journal: Canadian Journal of Public Health
Demarcating childhood into two distinct and broad 10-year age bands of over and under age 10 is a disservice to our tween population (9–12 years), and may be overlooking our role in understanding the negative impacts of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) during a formative period of development. This commentary, discusses the importance of considering tweens as a unique population of youth who are differentially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It first describes the distinctive progress of tweens across various facets of developmental health, followed by recommendations to improve understanding and address impact of the pandemic and its restrictions on tweens. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on the day-to-day lives of tweens and what is done now will have long-lasting effects on their lifelong trajectories.
Concerns and effects of COVID-19 in families with babies: results of a nationwide survey in Finland

J. Lammi-Taskula; R. Klemetti; M. Vuorenmaa (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Journal of Public Health,

The COVID-19 has changed the everyday life of families. The aim of this study was to examine the concerns and effects of the pandemic on the everyday life of families with babies. The data consist of mothers (n = 4550) and fathers (n = 2955) with 3-6-month-old babies who participated in the national FinChildren survey in autumn 2020. The results were analyzed separately for mothers and fathers according to the number of children. One-child parents were compared to parents with several children by logistic regression adjusted for parents' age, education and economic situation.

Preliminary data on physical well-being of children and adolescents during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

A . Salussolia; M. Montalti; S. Marini (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Journal of Public Health
The COVID-19 outbreak has forcibly overshadowed the physical well-being of children and adolescents, of which we will see the consequences in near future. The programs to contain the spread of Sars-CoV-2 resulted in prolonged lockdown periods, discontinuity of educational services and a possible decrease in physical activities (PA) among the youngest. In the local reality of the Metropolitan City of Bologna children and adolescents underwent a radical change in habits and lifestyle, overall predisposing sedentariness and unhealthy behaviors. The project, “Come te la passi?”, aims to acknowledge lifestyle variations (concerning diet, PA, sleep behavior/quality) to design, in second-phase interventions, individualized school-based educational programs.
Physical activity of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic—a scoping review

Lea Rossi; Nick Behme; Christoph Breuer

Published: October 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
To counteract the COVIC-19 pandemic, many governments have introduced social distancing measures. While these restrictions helped contain the virus, it had adverse effects on individuals’ mental and physical health—especially children. The aim of the present study is to review the evidence on the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on children’s physical activity and their determinants. A scoping review was conducted in the databases PubMed, Web of Science, SportDiscus, and BISp-Surf. Inclusion criteria were empirical and peer-reviewed studies, youth samples, investigation of COVID-19 restrictions, and investigating changes and/or determinants of physical activity before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Risk of bias was assessed using the checklist by Downs and Black. The search resulted in 1672 studies, of which 84 studies were included in the analysis. The results highlighted a decrease in physical activity during the pandemic, ranging between −10.8 min/day and −91 min/day. If an increase was detected, it related to unstructured and outdoor activities. The main determinants of children’s physical activity during the pandemic were age, gender, socioeconomic background, and the outdoor environment.
Life in Lockdown: Child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the time of COVID-19
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly disrupted the daily lives of children and adolescents, with increased time at home, online learning and limited physical social interaction. This report seeks to understand the immediate effects on their mental health. Covering more than 130,000 children and adolescents across 22 countries, the evidence shows increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as increased alcohol and substance use, and  externalizing behavioural problems. Children and adolescents also reported positive coping strategies, resilience, social connectedness through digital media, more family time, and relief from academic stress. Factors such as demographics, relationships and pre-existing conditions are critical.  To ensure children and adolescents are supported, the report recommends building the evidence on the longer-term impact of the pandemic on child and adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries, including vulnerable populations.

Understanding changes to children's connection to nature during the COVID-19 pandemic and implications for child well-being

Samantha Friedman; Susan Imrie; Elian Fink (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: People and Nature

While psychological connection to nature is known to be associated with both pro-environmental behaviours and well-being, there is an urgent need to extend this research to consider impacts from the COVID-19 lockdown period. Examining whether children's connection to nature changed during this period, identifying the drivers of these changes and determining the links between connection to nature and child well-being can each serve to guide post-lockdown initiatives to promote children's connection to nature.

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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.