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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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An investigation of mental health status of children and adolescents in China during the outbreak of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Li Duan; Xiaojun Shao; Yuan Wang; et al.

Published: July 2020   Journal of Affective Disorders
This study investigates the psychological effects on children and adolescents associated with the epidemic in China. Findings indicate that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant psychosocial impact on children and adolescents. The presence of clinical depressive symptoms, resident in urban regions, implementation of the precaution and control measures, being female, having a family member or friend infected with coronavirus were associated with increased levels of anxiety.
Smartphone addiction, Internet addiction, family members or friends infected with coronavirus, graduation affected by the epidemic, levels of separation anxiety, physical injury fear, and tendency to adopt an emotion-focused coping style were associated with increased levels of respondents’ depressive symptoms.
Targeted intervention measures could be formulated based on the significant influencing factors on anxiety and clinical depressive symptoms.


Psychological burden of quarantine in children and adolescents: A rapid systematic review and proposed solutions

AUTHOR(S)
Nazish Imran; Irum Aamer; Muhammad Imran Sharif; et al.

Published: July 2020   Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences
As COVID-19 grips the world, many people are quarantined or isolated resulting in adverse consequences for the mental health of youth. This rapid review takes into account the impact of quarantine on mental health of children and adolescents, and proposes measures to improve psychological outcomes of isolation. Three electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, and ISI Web of Science were searched. Two independent reviewers performed title and abstract screening followed by full-text screening. This review article included 10 studies. The seven studies before onset of COVID 19 about psychological impact of quarantine in children have reported isolation, social exclusion stigma and fear among the children. The most common diagnoses were acute stress disorder, adjustment disorder, grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Three studies during the COVID-19 pandemic reported restlessness, irritability, anxiety, clinginess and inattention with increased screen time in children during quarantine. These adverse consequences can be tackled through carefully formulated multilevel interventions.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 35 | Issue: 5 | No. of pages: 10 | Language: English | Tags: child mental health, children, mental health, psychological distress, COVID-19 response, COVID-19 | Topics: Mental Health, Child Protection
Behavioural and Emotional Disorders in Children During the COVID-19 Epidemic

AUTHOR(S)
Wen YanJiao; Lin Na Wang; Juan Liu; et al.

Published: June 2020   The Journal of Pediatrics

Since December 2019, health systems around the globe have struggled with an increasing number of cases of a viral respiratory syndrome that emerged in China. The cause is a new strain in the coronavirus family, provisionally named 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)1, SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. The European Paediatric Association–Union of National European Paediatric Societies and Associations (EPA-UNEPSA) has established a collaborative working group with key Chinese academic institutions and medical centers with the purpose of facilitating the reciprocal exchange of information and sharing scientific knowledge. The aim of this commentary by the China-EPA-UNEPSA working group is to raise awareness regarding children's psychological needs during epidemics and report early data collected in the COVID-19–affected areas in China during the current outbreak, emphasizing the role of families and caregivers in the timely recognition and management of negative emotions.

Rapid Systematic Review: The Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in the Context of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Maria Elizabeth Loades DClinPsy; Eleanor Chatburn; Nina Higson-Sweeney

Published: June 2020   Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in governments implementing disease containment measures such as school closures, social distancing and home quarantine. Children and adolescents are experiencing a prolonged state of physical isolation from their peers, teachers, extended family and community networks. Quarantine in adults generally has negative psychological effects including confusion, anger, and post-traumatic distress. Duration of quarantine, infection fears, boredom, frustration, lack of necessary supplies, lack of information, financial loss, and stigma appear to increase the risk of negative psychological outcomes. Social distancing and school closures may, therefore, increase mental health problems in children and adolescents, already at higher risk of developing mental health problems compared to adults  at a time when they are also experiencing anxiety over a health threat and threats to family employment/income.
Mental health effects of school closures during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Joyce Lee

Published: April 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
For children and adolescents with mental health needs, school closures mean a lack of access to the resources they usually have through schools. School routines are important coping mechanisms for young people with mental health issues. When schools are closed, they lose an anchor in life and their symptoms could relapse.
Children with special education needs, such as those with autism spectrum disorder, are also at risk. With speech therapy sessions and social skills groups suspended, children with special needs might miss their chance to develop essential skills. There is a need to monitor young people's mental health status over the long term, and to study how prolonged school closures, strict social distancing measures, and the pandemic itself affect the wellbeing of children and adolescents.
Mental health effects of school closures during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Joyce Lee

Published: April 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic—and the social distancing measures that many countries have implemented—have caused disruptions to daily routines. As of April 8, 2020, schools have been suspended nationwide in 188 countries, according to UNESCO. Over 90% of enrolled learners (1·5 billion young people) worldwide are now out of education. For children and adolescents with mental health needs, such closures mean a lack of access to the resources they usually have through schools. In a survey by the mental health charity YoungMinds, which included 2111 participants up to age 25 years with a mental illness history in the UK, 83% said the pandemic had made their conditions worse. 26% said they were unable to access mental health support; peer support groups and face-to-face services have been cancelled, and support by phone or online can be challenging for some young people.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 4 | Issue: 6 | No. of pages: 8 | Language: English | Tags: adolescents, children, mental health, pandemic, COVID-19 | Topics: Education, Mental Health, Health | Countries: United Kingdom
Research Brief: Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Ramya Subrahmanian; Shivit Bakrania

 

This research brief summarizes the findings of a rapid review that collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.

The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and  school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19. is extremely limited.

There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities - such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income - leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.

Lessons from previous pandemics and epidemics suggest that the following could mitigate the child protection risks:

  • Responding to children in vulnerable circumstances, including orphans (e.g. throughpsychosocial interventions focused on improving mental health and community-based interventions that provide families with resources and access to services)
  • Responding to stigmatization and discrimination (e.g. throughinformation and communication campaigns and support from public health systems, communities and schools)
  • Investing in social protectionenable livelihoods during outbreaks and to counteract shocks
  • Promoting access to health, protective and justice services, which may be restricted or suspending during infectious disease outbreaks
  • Ensuring continued access to education, particularly for girls, who may be adversely affected

There is a high burden of proof for data collection during the current COVID-19 outbreak than there would be in normal circumstances. Evidence generation strategies during and after the COVID-19 crisis should consider rigorous retrospective reviews and building upon monitoring, evidence and learning functions of pre-existing programmes – particularly where there is ongoing longitudinal data collection. There should also be efforts to synthesize evidence from existing research on the effectiveness of interventions that respond to the key risk pathways identified in this review.

 

 

 

Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Alessandra Ipince; Cirenia Chávez; Claire Stansfield; Matilde Rocca; Ramya Subrahmanian; Sandy Oliver; Shivit Bakrania

 

This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.

The evidence on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection outcomes is limited and skewed towards studies on the effects of HIV/AIDS on stigma. There is also some evidence on the effects of Ebola on outcomes such as orphanhood, sexual violence and exploitation, and  school enrolment, attendance and dropout. The evidence on other pandemics or epidemics, including COVID-19, is extremely limited.

There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. Outcomes are typically multi-layered, with immediate outcomes for children, families and communities - such as being orphaned, stigmatization and discrimination and reductions in household income - leading to further negative risks and outcomes for children in the intermediate term. These risks include child labour and domestic work, harmful practices (including early marriage), and early and adolescent pregnancy.

Lessons from previous pandemics and epidemics suggest that the following could mitigate the child protection risks:

  • Responding to children in vulnerable circumstances, including orphans (e.g. throughpsychosocial interventions focused on improving mental health and community-based interventions that provide families with resources and access to services)
  • Responding to stigmatization and discrimination (e.g. throughinformation and communication campaigns and support from public health systems, communities and schools)
  • Investing in social protectionenable livelihoods during outbreaks and to counteract shocks
  • Promoting access to health, protective and justice services, which may be restricted or suspending during infectious disease outbreaks
  • Ensuring continued access to education, particularly for girls, who may be adversely affected

There is a high burden of proof for data collection during the current COVID-19 outbreak than there would be in normal circumstances. Evidence generation strategies during and after the COVID-19 crisis should consider rigorous retrospective reviews and building upon monitoring, evidence and learning functions of pre-existing programmes – particularly where there is ongoing longitudinal data collection. There should also be efforts to synthesize evidence from existing research on the effectiveness of interventions that respond to the key risk pathways identified in this review.

 

 

 

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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. Learn more.

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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.