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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.


Gender Inequality and the COVID-19 Crisis: A Human Development Perspective
Published: July 2020   UNDP Report
Across several social, economic, and political dimensions, women and girls are disproportionately affected by the crisis simply because of their sex. The immediate effects of COVID-19 on gender inequality are already showing themselves in health and education, on the burden of unpaid care work and gender-based violence.
While the COVID-19 crisis affects everyone, women and girls face specific and often disproportionate economic, health, and social risks due to deeply entrenched inequalities, social norms, and unequal power relations. Understanding the gender-differentiated impacts of the COVID-19 crisis through sex-disaggregated data is fundamental to designing policy responses that reduce vulnerable conditions and strengthen women's agency, placing gender equality at their centre. This is not just about rectifying long-standing inequalities but also about building a more just and resilient world.
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.

Soro Sali, a 39 years old woman is practicing Kangaroo, at the Regional Hospital of Korhogo, in the North of Côte d'Ivoire.
Data to inform the COVID-19 response
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Timely, disaggregated, and quality data on the situation of children can help identify where the most vulnerable live so that interventions to counteract the potential adverse effects of COVID-19 can be implemented to reach those most in need. UNICEF’s call to protect children, especially the most marginalized, is essential now more than ever and our global databases can inform that response by painting a picture of children around the world. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, where are children especially vulnerable to physical punishment? Are sufficient hygiene facilities available in schools? And is healthcare accessible for children with acute respiratory symptoms? How will the most vulnerable children, such as those living on the street or in refugee camps fare? Data like these can provide guidance for UNICEF and country programmes so that our efforts to mitigate and overcome the effects of the pandemic can be measured.
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.
Impact of COVID -19 on children: special focus on the psychosocial aspect

AUTHOR(S)
Ritwik Ghosh; Mahua J. Dubei; Subhankar Chatterjee; Souvik Dubei

Published: June 2020   Minerva Pediatrica
Although medical literature shows that children are minimally susceptible to 2019-Corona virus disease (COVID-19), they are hit the hardest by psychosocial impact of this pandemic. Being quarantined in homes and institutions may impose greater psychological burden than the physical sufferings caused by the virus. School closure, lack of outdoor activity, aberrant dietary and sleeping habits are likely to disrupt children’s usual lifestyle and can potentially promote monotony, distress, impatience, annoyance and varied neuropsychiatric manifestations. Incidences of domestic violence, child abuse, adulterated online contents are on the rise. Children of single parent and frontline workers suffer unique problems. The children from marginalized communities are particularly susceptible to the infection and may suffer from extended ill-consequences of this pandemic, such as child labor, child trafficking, child marriage, sexual exploitation and death etc. Parents, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, hospital authorities, government and non-governmental organizations have important roles to play to mitigate the psychosocial ill-effects of COVID-19 on children and adolescents. To provide the basic amenities, social security, medical care, and to minimize the educational inequities among the children of the different strata of the society are foremost priorities.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 72 | Issue: 3 | No. of pages: 226-35 | Language: English | Tags: child mental health, domestic violence, COVID-19 | Topics: Mental Health
Comment les enfants et adolescents avec le trouble déficit d’attention/hyperactivité (TDAH) vivent-ils le confinement durant la pandémie COVID-19 ?

AUTHOR(S)
E. Bobo; L. Lin; E. Acquaviva; et al.

Published: June 2020   L'Encéphale
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the French government has decided a general lockdown. This unprecedented situation has raised concerns about children's and adolescent's mental health. Children and adolescents diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may find this context of restrained activity particularly tricky. The objectives of our study are to gather information about the well-being and global life conditions of children and adolescents with ADHD during the COVID-19 outbreak in France.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 46 | Issue: 3, Supplement | No. of pages: 585-592 | Language: French | Tags: child mental health, COVID-19, lockdown | Topics: Mental Health
O uso intensivo da internet por crianças e adolescentes no contexto da COVID-19 e os riscos para violências autoinflingidas

AUTHOR(S)
Suely Ferreira Deslandes; Tiago Coutinho

Published: June 2020   Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
This article aimed to discuss the implications of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the intensive use of the internet among children and adolescents and its possible consequences for the practice of self-inflicted violence. We briefly discussed the anxiogenic potential and the reproduction of a “global fear” that are consolidated with the massive and unmediated exposure of the content consumed, which can increase the vulnerabilities to stress and suicidal ideas. We centered our debate on “recreational” practices, called “challenges” with self-harm power, carried out by teenagers on the YouTube website. This practice has been shown to increase with the social isolation measures. Our reflection on these risks builds on the theoretical perspective of digital sociability, and its implications for the internet-mediated interactions of adolescents.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 25 | Issue: 1 | Language: Portuguese | Tags: child mental health, internet, social behaviour, COVID-19, lockdown | Topics: Mental Health
Impact of COVID-19 on children: special focus on the psychosocial aspect

AUTHOR(S)
Ritwik GHOSH Ghosh; Mahua J. Dubey; Subhankar Chatterje; et al.

Published: June 2020   Minerva Pediatrica
Although medical literature shows that children are minimally susceptible to 2019-Corona virus disease (COVID-19), they are hit the hardest by psychosocial impact of this pandemic. Being quarantined in homes and institutions may impose greater psychological burden than the physical sufferings caused by the virus. School closure, lack of outdoor activity, aberrant dietary and sleeping habits are likely to disrupt children’s usual lifestyle and can potentially promote monoto- ny, distress, impatience, annoyance and varied neuropsychiatric manifestations. Incidences of domestic violence, child abuse, adulterated online contents are on the rise. Children of single parent and frontline workers suffer unique problems. The children from marginalized communities are particularly susceptible to the infection and may suffer from extended ill-consequences of this pandemic, such as child labor, child trafficking, child marriage, sexual exploitation and death etc. Parents, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, hospital authorities, government and non-governmental organizations have important roles to play to mitigate the psychosocial ill-effects of COVID-19 on children and adolescents. To provide the basic amenities, social security, medical care, and to minimize the educational inequities among the children of the different strata of the society are foremost priorities.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 72 | Issue: 3 | No. of pages: 12 | Language: English | Tags: child psychology, psychology, pandemic, COVID-19 response, COVID-19, impact | Topics: Mental Health, Health
Impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak on movement and play behaviours of Canadian children and youth: a national survey

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah A. Moore; Guy Faulkner; Ryan E. Rhodes

Published: June 2020   International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (IJBNPA)
Healthy childhood development is fostered through sufficient physical activity (PA; including time outdoors), limiting sedentary behaviours (SB), and adequate sleep; collectively known as movement behaviours. Though the COVID-19 virus outbreak has changed the daily lives of children and youth, it is unknown to what extent related restrictions may compromise the ability to play and meet movement behaviour recommendations. This secondary data analysis examined the immediate impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on movement and play behaviours in children and youth.
COVID-19 in Children: An Ample Review

AUTHOR(S)
Ioana M Ciuca

Published: June 2020   Risk management and healthcare policy
The aim of this review was to describe the current knowledge about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19, which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2]) in children, from epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory perspectives, including knowledge on the disease course, treatment, and prognosis. An extensive literature search was performed to identify papers on COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 infection) in children, published between January 1, 2020 and April 1, 2020. There were 44 relevant papers on COVID-19 in children. The results showed that COVID-19 occurs in 0.39–12.3% of children. Clinical signs and symptoms are comparable to those in adults, but milder forms and a large percentage of asymptomatic carriers are found among children. Elevated inflammatory markers are associated with complications and linked to various co-infections. Chest computed tomography (CT) scans in children revealed structural changes similar to those found in adults, with consolidations surrounded by halos being somewhat specific for children with COVID-19. The recommended treatment includes providing symptomatic therapy, with no specific drug recommendations for children. The prognosis is much better for children compared to adults. This review highlights that COVID-19 in children is similar to the disease in the adult population, but with particularities regarding clinical manifestations, laboratory test results, chest imaging, and treatment. The prognosis is much better for children compared to adults, but with the progression of the pandemic; the cases in children might change in the future.
Supporting children with autism spectrum disorder in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Sharon C. Smile

Published: May 2020   CMAJ
A specific response is needed to address the mental distress of children who are quarantined. There needs to be greater emphasis on designing diverse, socioculturally appropriate programs to address mental distress and provide mental health care and psychosocial supports to mitigate the effects of prolonged isolation in children.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 192 | Issue: 21 | No. of pages: 1 | Language: English | Tags: child care, child mental health, COVID-19 | Topics: Mental Health
Response to children’s physical and mental needs during the COVID-19 outbreak

AUTHOR(S)
Xiao-Bo Zhang; Yong-Hao Gui; Xiu Xu; et al.

Published: May 2020   World Journal of Pediatrics
School closure and stay-at-home, as a part of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI), have been implemented in China since February as an effective way to mitigate the spread of the virus during the COVID-19 outbreak. As concerns rose over the potential impacts of such NPI measures on children’s health, such as longer exposure to digital screens, irregular sleep pattern, weight gain, and loss of cardiorespiratory fitness [1], the Chinese Government, experts on public health, educators on school health, and teachers have been making joint and massive efforts to provide distance learning with well-organized online courses to help.
The Impact of COVID-19 on children
Published: April 2020  

The UN Secretary-General has launched a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on children. The brief lays out the ways in which the virus will impact children.  Whilst they appear largely to be spared the worst symptoms of the disease, they may well be among the biggest victims of the crisis in the long run because their education, nutrition, safety and health will be significantly undermined by the socioeconomic impact and by unintended consequences of the pandemic response. The harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally. They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest countries, and in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations. This policy brief provides a deeper analysis of these effects. It identifies also a series of immediate and sustained actions for the attention of governments and policymakers.

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
A UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19
Published: April 2020  
This report sets out the framework for the United Nations’ urgent socio-economic support to countries and societies in the face of COVID-19, putting in practice the UN Secretary-General’s Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity report on the same subject. It is one of three critical components of the UN’s efforts to save lives, protect people, and rebuild better, alongside the health response, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the humanitarian response, as detailed in the UN-led COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
Protecting the psychological health of children through effective communication about COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Louise Dalton; Elizabeth Rapa; Alan Stein

Published: 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
The attention of the world is rightly focused on measures to mitigate the transmission and economic effect of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. In this rapidly changing situation, media and social conversations are entirely dominated by the outbreak, and children are exposed to large amounts of information and high levels of stress and anxiety in the adults around them. Parents would do anything to protect their children from distress and might avoid talking about difficult feelings and events. However, research shows that even children as young as 2 years are aware of the changes around them. Sensitive and effective communication about life-threatening illness has major benefits for children and their family's long-term psychological wellbeing.

Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 4 | Issue: 5 | No. of pages: 2 | Language: English | Tags: child mental health, children, pandemic, COVID-19 response, COVID-19 | Topics: Mental Health, Child Protection
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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.