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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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The impact of COVID‐19 on school‐age children

Glen Stone; Tyler Witzig; Constance McIntosh

Published: December 2022   Journal: Psychology in the Schools
The paper examines the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on school-age children and their families. Changes to their daily lives were examined through the lens of their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. An analysis of current literature was conducted examining the emerging research on the pandemic's effects on families. A case example is provided to offer a narrative snapshot of the many experiences faced by children and families throughout school closures and stay at home orders.
Family functioning and quality of life among children with nephrotic syndrome during the first pandemic wave

Nowrin F. Aman; Jessica Fitzpatrick; Isabel de Verteuil (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Pediatric Nephrology

During the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic, one of the longest lockdowns worldwide occurred in Ontario, Canada, during the first wave. For parents and children managing care at home and at risk for COVID-19, the impact on their psychosocial functioning is unknown. A total of 122 families of children aged 2–18 years were enrolled as part of the prospective cohort of childhood nephrotic syndrome and completed a survey during the first wave of the pandemic (August 21–December 10), 2020. In a subset, 107 families had data available pre-pandemic to assess change. Validated measures included the McMaster Family Assessment Device (FAD) for parents and children ≥ 12 years for family functioning, the Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression and Anxiety (PHQ-4) for both parent and child, and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PEDSQL™-V4) for children only. Scores were compared using Student’s t-test or the Mann–Whitney U test, as appropriate.

The change in children's subjective relational social cohesion with family and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic: a multinational analysis

Oliver Nahkur; Dagmar Kutsar

Published: December 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Sociology
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, social-distancing measures have been implemented worldwide, including school closures. Previous studies indicated that children's relational social cohesion with family (RSC-Fa) and friends (RSC-Fr) may have decreased during the pandemic, but some children described that positive experiences were gained from the confinement measures of social distancing. Mostly, these studies are qualitative or capture a single country and have an exploratory character. Using data collected in 2021 of more than 20,000 children primarily aged 9–13 years as part of the International Children's Worlds COVID-19 Supplement Survey from 18 countries (Germany, Turkey, Bangladesh, Italy, Albania, Romania, Chile, Wales, Taiwan, Belgium, Algeria, Israel, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Estonia, Finland, and Spain), this study aimed to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected children's RSC-Fa and RSC-Fr and explore the role of relational factors. RSC-Fa and RSC-Fr are measured through satisfaction in relationships with family members and friends before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively. This study employed descriptive statistics, cluster analysis, and multinomial logistic regression analysis.
The relationship between nutrition-physical activity behaviors of autistic children with their families and fhildren's obesity levels during Covid pandemic

Cevik Guner U. Umran; Bilkay İrem

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
The family has a key role in the obesity management of children with autism. This study examines the relationship between the nutrition-physical activity behaviors of autistic children with their families and children’s obesity levels during covid-19 pandemic. The descriptive and cross-sectional study involved 80 parents of autistic children. A positive correlation was found between children’s mean BMI values before and during the pandemic(p = 0.000). Family Nutrition and Physical Activity Scale(FNPAS) and Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior Inventory(BAMBI) score were 55.18 ± 7.86 and 31.76 ± 8.79, respectively. In addition, it was found that 32.5% of the children ate more than before the pandemic, 50.0% engaged in less physical activity, and 16.3% didn’t do any physical activity. The study results suggesting the risk of obesity.
Children's engineering identity development within an at-home engineering program during COVID-19

Amber Simpson; Peter N. Knox

Published: December 2022   Journal: Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research
The culture of engineering and the culture of formal learning environments often make it difficult for individuals to develop an engineering identity. Conversely, recent research points to the home environment as an alternative setting to support disciplinespecific identity development of children, while less is known regarding the identity development of children as engineers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the development of children’s engineering identity through the co-creation of engineering concepts and engagement with engineering design thinking and processes with family members in home environments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Family literacy practices and their contribution to emergent literacy skills during the COVID-19 pandemic

Joana Cruz; Maria Mackaaij; Helena Bilimória (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Written Language & Literacy
To develop emergent literacy skills, preschool children need to be supported by adults in a rich and stimulating environment. During the first lockdown due to the SARS-CoV2 virus, there were several social, family, technological, and individual barriers to promote family literacy and emergent literacy. The present study aimed to provide insight on the relationship between family literacy practices and emergent literacy skills among preschool children after the first confinement due to COVID-19 pandemic. This study included 102 participants, which consisted of parents (90.2% mothers) and one preschool child per parent. Results showed evidence of a higher frequency of training and teaching activities than family literacy playful activities. There were statistically significant differences in emergent skills, according to the frequency of family playful activities and family training and teaching activities.
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on food habits and neophobia in children in the framework of the family context and parents' behaviors: a study in an Italian central region

Annalisa Di Nucci; Umberto Scognamiglio; Federica Grant (et al.)

Published: December 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Nutrition

This paper aims to evaluate whether changes in lifestyle and eating habits resulting from the Covid-19 emergency have influenced the post-pandemic level of food neophobia and in children living in an Italian central region.  A sample of 99 children took part in a retrospective assessment carried out with a self-administrated questionnaire. Pre and post-pandemic evaluation of eating habits, physical activity, and lifestyle indicators was carried out. Food neophobia was evaluated following the Child Food Neophobia Scale (CFNS). Descriptive statistics were produced. A contingency analysis was performed to check associations between variables.

Fathers, young children and technology: changes in device use and family dynamics during the COVID-19 UK lockdown

Joe Matthews; Romana Burgess; Bridget Ellis (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
The COVID-19 2020 lockdown measures altered how families spent time together, with many fathers adopting new household roles and spending more time with their children. This paper contributes an empirical account of technology use and fatherhood during the COVID-19 pandemic, and draws implications for the design of technologies to support fathers. It outlines the findings from semi-structured interviews carried out with fathers during lockdown in the UK. Initial interviews (n=19) highlighted challenges in screen viewing, family dynamics, idea generation and self-care.
Family dinners and family relationships following the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic

Loren D. Marks; Heather H. Kelley; David C. Dollahite (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Marriage & Family Review
In the context of the COVID-19 shutdowns, we explored associations between family dinner and family well-being among 731 adult parents in the United States who currently had at least one child residing in their home. The panel survey was administered during the summer of 2020 (June 18 through July 22). Participants were asked to respond to questions about relational processes before the COVID-19 shutdowns, at the height of the shutdowns, and currently (i.e., at the time of data collection).
Parents' emotion suppression exacerbates the effect of COVID-19 stress on youth internalizing symptomatology

Emily M. Cohodes; Sarah McCauley; David A. Preece (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Emotion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in heightened stress for families in the United States, and exposure to pandemic-related stress has been found to confer risk for mental health problems among both children and parents. To isolate risk and protective factors for children living through the ongoing pandemic, several studies have begun to examine family-level factors that may exacerbate or buffer the impact of exposure to COVID-19-related stress on children’s symptomatology. Building upon the extant literature documenting associations between parents’ emotion regulation and children’s mental health, especially during times of stress, the present study aimed to examine parents’ regulation of their own emotions as a potential moderator of the association between children’s exposure to family-level COVID-19-related stress and internalizing and externalizing problems.
Associations between work-family balance, parenting stress, and marital conflicts during COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore

Gerard Siew Keong Chung; Xi Wen Chan; Paul Lanier (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Journal of Child and Family Studies
As part of the “Circuit-breaker” social distancing measure to address COVID-19, the government of Singapore closed schools and workplaces from April to May 2020. Although this helped reduce transmission rates, for working parents, this period had been a challenging experience of working from home while providing care for children full-time. Problems in the work-home interface can have a significant impact on parenting and marital harmony. This study analyzed data from 201 married and employed parents in Singapore using online surveys. Latent profile analysis was used to identify profiles of parents’ work–family balance (WFB) and spousal and employer support. Linear regression was used to examine links between profiles with parenting stress and marital conflicts.
Playgroup families' experiences of play-based remote learning

Victoria Minson; Karen McLean

Published: November 2022   Journal: Australasian Journal of Early Childhood
This qualitative study aimed to investigate enablers and barriers facing community-playgroup families in the provision of play opportunities for children throughout periods of lockdown restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study used a capabilities approach, focussing specifically on the concepts of resources, capabilities and functionings. Using case study methodology, the study comprised two case studies and involved five community-playgroup families. Data methods included semi-structured interviews with playgroup families and the use of audio data from Zoom™ workshops conducted with families in each case study. A thematic approach to data analysis identified seven themes characterising identified enablers and barriers. These were: internet and networked technologies, ideas and information, routines and structure, relationships, space, everyday life, and support. Implications for how playgroups can support children and families in post pandemic times are discussed.
Cohesion and conflict for mothers during the pandemic: Results of the Portuguese version of the COVID-19 Household environment scale

Joana Arsénio; Gabriela Fonseca; Alda Portugal (et al.)

Published: November 2022   Journal: Family Process
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a worldwide event that has caused significant changes in the daily lives of individuals and families. The combined effect of the pandemic and the stress associated with major life cycle changes, such as the transition to parenthood, is yet to be understood. The aim of the current study was to validate the Portuguese version of the recently developed COVID-19 Household Environment Scale (CHES) and examine its psychometric properties in a sample of mothers who had given birth during the pandemic. The CHES is a self-report measure assessing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in household cohesion and conflict and includes two sections. Section 1 contains 25 descriptive items pertaining to sociodemographic and household characteristics and COVID-19 stressors. Section 2 encompasses household cohesion and conflict, assessing any change in household experiences and activities following the onset of social distancing. The participants consisted of 342 mothers, aged between 19 and 50 years (M = 31.43; SD = 4.38). A confirmatory factor analysis supported the original CHES bifactor structure of household cohesion and conflict, which obtained an acceptable fit (CFI = 0.900, RMSEA = 0.065). Correlations between household cohesion and conflict and family cohesion and dyadic coping contributed to developing the construct validity of this scale.
Gender differences in epidemic everyday scenarios: an exploratory study of family life in Slovenia

Alenka Švab; Tanja Oblak Črnič

Published: November 2022   Journal: Social Inclusion
The article focuses on the changed dynamics of family life due to the first wave of Covid-19—starting in the spring of 2020—and the consequent longstanding social lockdown in the fall of 2020. It employs the concept of “forced nuclearisation” to describe the process that required a rapid reorganisation of otherwise self-evident and established social patterns and relationships, above all new adjustments of care relations both inside and outside the private sphere. The focus is on new demands in the intertwined spheres of work, school, and family obligations, especially because the private sphere has been assigned several additional functions, otherwise carried out by educational and daycare institutions. Based on an extensive dataset from a quantitative exploratory online survey conducted in two time periods, first in April 2020 and then in October 2020, this article discusses, from a comparative perspective and with a focus on gender inequalities, the main changes in practices and everyday routines such as shopping, housework, childcare, work obligations, and caring for other family members. The research aimed to identify the most obvious distinctions in family scenarios and, in particular, to point to the main social inequalities and potentially vulnerable groups within the population, who faced the forced and unexpected nuclearisation of everyday life.
Father–toddler bonding during the COVID-19 lockdown: qualitative insights from 17 families in Britain

Paula Sheppard; Mikaela Brough

Published: November 2022   Journal: Social Sciences
The UK lockdowns brought about many domestic changes. One was that many families with young children found themselves in the largely unique situation where fathers who normally worked away and saw little of their children during the day were now at home full-time. This was coupled with the fact that grandparents were now unavailable as lockdown rules prohibited visits and travel and many elderly were especially vulnerable. This study aimed to explore how this novel family situation was regarded by parents of young children and how they thought it would affect their children’s social development. Thematic analysis of interviews with 24 mothers and fathers of toddlers revealed that most parents did not think that the lockdown negatively impacted their child’s development, although they worried about it nonetheless. Having fathers at home was overwhelmingly seen as a positive for both the dad’s attachment to the toddler and the toddler’s attachment to their dad. The narrative around grandparents was more divided; there was an almost even split between parents thinking grandparental absence had a negative impact on the grandparent–child relationship and those who thought it made no difference. This study provides qualitative insight into an unusual domestic situation suggesting that parents felt father-child bonds were strengthened by the lockdown, although it remains to be seen if father-child relationships are improved long-term.
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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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