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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Western Australian adolescent emotional wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

H. M. Thomas; K. C. Runions; L. Lester (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been vast and are not limited to physical health. Many adolescents have experienced disruptions to daily life, including changes in their school routine and family’s financial or emotional security, potentially impacting their emotional wellbeing. In low COVID-19 prevalence settings, the impact of isolation has been mitigated for most young people through continued face-to-face schooling, yet there may still be significant impacts on their wellbeing that could be attributed to the pandemic. This study reports on data from 32,849 surveys from Year 7–12 students in 40 schools over two 2020 survey cycles (June/July: 19,240; October: 13,609), drawn from a study of 79 primary and secondary schools across Western Australia, Australia. The Child Health Utility Index (CHU9D) was used to measure difficulties and distress in responding secondary school students only. Using comparable Australian data collected six years prior to the pandemic, the CHU9D was calibrated against the Kessler-10 to establish a reliable threshold for CHU9D-rated distress.

Mental health & maltreatment risk of children with special educational needs during COVID-19

Winnie W. Y. Tso; Ko Ling Chan; Tatia M. C. Lee (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Children with special educational needs (SEN) are more vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic with risk of poor mental wellbeing and child maltreatment. To examine the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children with SEN and their maltreatment risk. 417 children with SEN studying at special schools and 25,427 children with typical development (TD) studying at mainstream schools completed an online survey in April 2020 in Hong Kong during school closures due to COVID-19.

Children and adolescents’ sleep patterns and their associations with mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Shanghai, China

Jian Zhao; Jiawei Xu; Yaping He (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

School closures and home confinement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may lead to disrupted sleep patterns. Consequently, it could increase the risk of children and adolescents’ mental health disorders. In this prospective study, we randomly selected ten schools in Shanghai and conducted cluster sampling of students from each school. The first wave of the survey was conducted between January 3 and 21, 2020. Approximately two months after the COVID-19 outbreak declared, a second wave of the survey was conducted. In total, 2427 individuals were surveyed in both waves using the same sampling method. Participants’ mental health status (depression, anxiety and stress), sleep patterns and other demographic information were measured in both waves. Multivariate regression analysis was used to examine the associations between sleep patterns and mental health status.

Brief, parent-led, transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral teletherapy for youth with emotional problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Andrew G. Guzick; Alicia W. Leong; Emily M. Dickinson (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased stress, anxiety, and depression in children. A six-session, parent-led, transdiagnostic, cognitive-behavioral teletherapy program was adapted from an established protocol to help youth aged between 5 and 13 years manage emotional problems during the pandemic. One-hundred twenty-nine parents of youth struggling with emotional problems during the COVID-19 pandemic participated in the program. Parents reported on their children's psychosocial functioning before and after treatment using validated assessments. They also reported on treatment satisfaction. Clinician-rated global improvement was assessed at each session to determine clinically significant treatment response.

Changes of internet behavior of adolescents across the period of COVID-19 pandemic in China

Qianying Wu; Tianzhen Chen; Na Zhong (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Psychology, Health & Medicine
During the COVID-19 pandemic, internet use and gaming of adolescents had been elevated. On the one hand, internet use and gaming in the period was a good approach to killing quarantined time. However, the increased use of the internet and game of adolescents may also increase the risk of internet addiction. This study aimed to describe the internet behavior changes of adolescents and to understand the impact of clinical features on internet addiction after the adolescents back to school in COVID-19 period. It conducted a cross-sectional cohort study using data collected through online investigation in China. Six hundred and twenty-five adolescents completed the online survey.
Sleeping through a lockdown: how adolescents and young adults struggle with lifestyle and sleep habits upheaval during a pandemic

Jérémie Potvin; Laura Ramos Socarras; Geneviève Forest (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Behavioral Sleep Medicine

The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between chronotype, lifestyle habits during the pandemic, and changes in sleep timing during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in youth. An online survey of adolescents and young adults (N = 449) was conducted in June 2020. Multivariate hierarchical regressions assessed the contribution of chronotype and changes in lifestyle habits to sleep timing during the COVID-19 pandemic in two age groups (12 to 17 years old and 18 to 25 years old).

Parent reports of children’s fright reactions to news of the COVID-19 pandemic: results from a national U.S. sample

Joanne Cantor; Kristen Harrison

Published: January 2022   Journal: Media Psychology
Between April 17 and 29, 2020, a nationwide online survey of parents of children between the ages of 3 and 17 years (N = 1560) was conducted. A majority of children were reported to be negatively emotionally affected (frightened, disturbed, or upset) by news coverage of COVID-19. Every stress symptom asked about (including nervousness, crying, and sleep problems) was dramatically more prevalent among children frightened than not frightened by the coverage. Open-ended questions illustrated the emotional depths of some responses. Developmental differences occurred in elements of coverage seen to influence fright. Most parents of frightened children tried to help their child cope, but their choices of strategies were only partially consistent with developmental expectations. Children with digital devices in their bedroom showed greater fear; more hours of COVID news were transmitted in homes with frightened than unfrightened children; and the relationship between media access and children’s fear intensity and stress symptoms remained after controlling for parents’ own fear and parents’ closeness with people diagnosed with COVID. Parents are encouraged to monitor children’s exposure to media-conveyed catastrophes, to be mindful of potential age differences in child responses, and to be available to help children cope.
Changes in sleep-wake patterns and disturbances before and during COVID-19 in urban American indian/Alaska native adolescents

Wendy M. Troxel; Alina I. Palimaru; David J. Klein (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Behavioral Sleep Medicine

COVID-19 has profoundly affected sleep, although little research has focused on high-risk populations for poor sleep health, including American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) adolescents. This is the first longitudinal study to examine changes in sleep with surveys completed before the pandemic and during the early months of COVID-19 in a sample of urban AI/AN adolescents (N = 118; mean age = 14 years at baseline; 63% female). It uses a mixed-methods approach to explore how COVID-19 affected urban AI/AN adolescents’ sleep, daily routines, and interactions with family and culture. Quantitative analysis examined whether pandemic-related sleep changes were significant and potential moderators of COVID-19’s effect on sleep, including family and community cohesion and engagement in traditional practices.

Staying online, staying connected: exploring the effect of online chatting on adolescents’ psychological well-being during COVID-19 quarantine

Yulei Feng; Qingyan Tong

Published: January 2022   Journal: Youth & Society
Rooted in scholarship of social connectedness and social support, this research raises the question: Can online chatting help mitigate the negative psychological influence of physical distancing during COVID-19? By a correlational and cross-sectional research design, the current study testified the mediating role of two factors—social connectedness and perceived social support in the relationship between online chatting and three indicators of psychological well-being (happiness, self-esteem, and loneliness) for adolescents. This research demonstrated the potential of online chatting in mitigating the severity of quarantine from the supplementary perspective of online communication effects on adolescents, which provided a further insight into understanding the ways in which adolescents use media during school closure. Possible contingent factors that should be paid special attention to in future researches are discussed.
COVID-19 news consumption and distress in young people: a systematic review

Michelle A. Strasser; Philip J. Sumner; Denny Meyer

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of affective disorders

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges for the mental health of young people. The volume, negative content and potential for misinformation within COVID-19 related news can be an additional cause of distress. This systematic review aims to synthesise the research findings on the relationship between COVID-19 news and distress in young people. Following the PRISMA guidelines, PubMed, Web of Science, and PsycINFO databases were searched on 24 April 2021 for articles that contained empirical research examining the association between COVID-19 news consumption and mental health in samples of young people with a mean age between 10 and 24 years.

Residential green space is associated with a buffering effect on stress responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in mothers of young children, a prospective study

Stijn Vos; Esmée M. Bijnens; Eleni Renaers (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Environmental research
Green spaces are associated with increased well-being and reduced risk of developing psychiatric disorders. This study aimed to investigate how residential proximity to green spaces was associated with stress response buffering during the COVID-19 pandemic in a prospective cohort of young mothers. It collected information on stress in 766 mothers (mean age: 36.6 years) from the ENVIRONAGE birth cohort at baseline of the study (from 2010 onwards), and during the COVID-19 pandemic (from December 2020 until May 2021). Self-reported stress responses due to the COVID-19 pandemic were the outcome measure. Green space was quantified in several radiuses around the residence based on high-resolution (1 m2) data. Using ordinal logistic regression, the odds of better resistance to reported stress was estimated, while controlling for age, socio-economic status, stress related to care for children, urbanicity, and household change in income during the pandemic.
Disentangling the diversity of profiles of adaptation in youth during COVID-19

Martine Hebert; Amelie Tremblay-Perreault; Arianne Jean-Thorn (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports

The COVID-19 outbreak has major psychosocial consequences on the global population and specialists report that youth may be significantly impacted. Adolescents and young adults, for whom social life is an important protective factor, had to face a new isolation caused by social distancing and home schooling. This study aims to explore youth's profiles of adaptation to COVID-19 pandemic in the province of Quebec, Canada, and the risk factors and strengths associated with each profile. A sample of 4936 youth living in Quebec were recruited on social media and filled out an online survey during the lockdown of the first wave of COVID-19. They completed measures of psychological distress, positive adaptation (well-being, resilience), risk factors (alexithymia and emotional dysregulation), COVID-related worries and fear of contamination and COVID-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Network analysis of depressive and anxiety symptoms in adolescents during and after the COVID-19 outbreak peak

Rui Liu; Xu Chen; Han Qi (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of affective disorders

This study examined the extent to which the network structure of anxiety and depression among adolescents identified during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic could be cross-validated in a sample of adolescents assessed after the COVID-19 peak. Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted between February 20 and 27, 2020 and between April 11 and 19, 2020, respectively. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were assessed using 20-item the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression and 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder, respectively. Anxiety-depression networks of the first and second assessments were estimated separately using a sparse Graphical Gaussian Model combined with the graphical least absolute shrinkage and selection operator method. A Network Comparison Test was conducted to assess differences between the two networks.

Impact of COVID-19 on adolescent travel behavior

Jianrong Liu; Qiongwen Cao; Mingyang Pei

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of transport & health

The outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly impacted travel behavior. However, few studies have analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on adolescent travel behavior. This article analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on adolescent travel behavior using questionnaire survey data. This paper first used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to explore the psychological factors related to the adolescents' perceptions about the severity of COVID-19. The study then established a logit model to study the effects of COVID-19 in different phases (before, during, and after the epidemic peak), demographic characteristics, and the role of psychological factors on their travel behavior.

Media use and emotional distress under COVID-19 lockdown in a clinical sample referred for internalizing disorders: a Swiss adolescents' perspective

Anna Maria Werling; Susanne Walitza; Miriam Gerstenberg (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Psychiatric Research
The COVID-19 outbreak has profoundly affected adolescents' life. Adolescents with pre-existing psychiatric disorders have been at particular risk of increased mental health problems and problematic media use. 178 patients, aged 12–18 years, referred before the COVID-19 outbreak to child and adolescent psychiatry, participated in an anonymous online survey on the impact of the lockdown on media use and mental well-being. The survey was conducted approximately one month after the first easing of restrictions following a six-week lockdown in Switzerland. Based on self-report, half of the patients had been diagnosed with internalizing disorders (ID; depression or anxiety disorder) and the other half with other disorders (non-ID, e.g. ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder).
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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.