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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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41 - 50 of 96
Examination of performance of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form 10 among African youth in poor, rural households

Kelly Kilburn, Leah Prencipe, Lisa Hjelm, Amber Peterman, Sudhanshu Handa, Tia Palermo

Published: 2018


Youth mental health has emerged as a pressing global issue. However, to advance research gaps in low-income settings, we need valid measures of common mental health disorders. Using primary data collected in five countries (Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), this study aims to assess the psychometric properties of the commonly used 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D 10) scale among poor, disadvantaged youth populations in sub-Saharan African (SSA).


Youth samples from each country (sample sizes ranging from 651 to 2098) come from large household surveys with youth modules, collected for impact evaluations of cash transfer programs targeted to poor families. For each sample, we assessed internal consistency (alpha), conducted factor analysis, and then examined construct validity and measurement invariance. We performed both exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to examine and confirm the structure of the CES-D 10 for each country and then used multigroup CFA to assess measurement invariance across gender and age. Multivariate analyses were conducted to assess construct validity via test of the relationship between CES-D 10 and background characteristics.


Results show the CES-D 10 had strong psychometric properties and was a reliable measure of depressive symptoms among disadvantaged youth in SSA. Across countries, there was high internal consistency (Cronbach alphas = 0.70–0.76) and the traditional two-factor solution showed good model fit. Full measurement invariance of the CES-D 10 was supported across gender. Consistent with previous literature on risk factors for depressive symptoms, the CES-D 10 was associated with increasing age, and female gender and being out of school in some locations.


Results from this study support broad use of the CES-D 10 among poor youth populations in SSA. Between one-third and two-thirds of our samples demonstrated depressive symptoms as classified by recommended cut-offs for the CES-D 10, indicating a high burden of mental illness in disadvantaged youth populations. This tool can be used in future efforts to study prevalence and dynamics of depressive symptoms in this population, as well as effectiveness of policies and interventions to improve the mental health of youth in SSA.

The Role of Productive Activities in the Lives of Adolescents: Photovoice Evidence from Malawi

Susannah Zietz, Jacobus de Hoop, Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2018
Adolescence is an important transitional period, separate from both childhood and adulthood. Critical physical and mental development occurs during adolescence, including emotional skills, physical, and mental abilities. Behaviors adopted during this lifecourse period have critical implications for adolescents' future health and well-being. The main research question of the present study is: what is the role of productive activities in the lives and development of adolescents in rural Malawi? As part of this study, selected adolescents from poor rural households were asked to take photographs of their daily (productive) activities. These photographs served as a starting point for focus group discussions. In addition to including adolescents, we conducted qualitative interviews with caregivers and teachers to triangulate and obtain a more holistic understanding of adolescent engagement in productive activities. The main themes that emerged were that 1) the work that is conducted by adolescent boys and girls inside and outside the household is not only perceived by adolescents as a product of poverty, but as a point of pride, as well as a potential means of providing for one's future, 2) there is a tension between the needs of the family and schooling, and 3) adolescent productive activities are associated with minor although not negligible hazards and injuries. We discuss that these qualitative findings help to better understand how social protection interventions, such as Malawi's Social Cash Transfer Program, may affect adolescent engagement in work and adolescent wellbeing more generally.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 246-255 | Tags: child labour, child well-being
Effects of Public Policy on Child Labor: Current Knowledge, Gaps, and Implications for Program Design

Ana C. Dammert, Jacobus de Hoop, Eric Mvukiyehe, Furio Camillo Rosati

Published: 2018
Household decisions about child labor are influenced by income, uncertainty, and relative returns to work and education. The complexity of the phenomenon implies that a large set of policy instruments can be used to address child labor or can affect child labor. This review of 33 impact evaluations provides a comprehensive look at pathways through which social protection (credit and microfinance, cash transfers, vouchers, food programs), and labor programs affect child labor. Despite the complexity of integrating findings across different child labor definitions, implementation contexts, and policy instruments, some patterns emerge. For example, programs that address child labor by reducing the vulnerability of the household produce the desired effect. Transfers reduced child labor in most cases. Similarly, programs that help the household cope with exposure to risk, for example, health insurance, reduce household reliance on child labor. On the other hand, policies aimed at increasing adult household members’ participation in the labor market or entrepreneurial activities, can generate demand for adolescent and child work. Of course, such programs are an important component of anti-poverty strategies, but they could be modified and integrated with additional interventions to ensure that they do not produce adverse effects on child labor. While progress has been made over the past decade, there is still much to learn about the effects of public policy on the labor participation of many children in developing countries
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 104-123 | Tags: child labour, household income
Children’s Roles in Social Reproduction: reexamining the discourse on care through a child lens

Elena Camilletti, Prerna Banati, Sarah Cook

Published: 2018
Care and domestic work have gained attention in the global policy discourse, particularly following feminist research and activism showing its burden for women. However, these debates and political demands have generally overlooked children’s contribution to social reproduction within and beyond the household. Empirical evidence shows that many children assume care and domestic responsibilities from an early age, with an increasingly gendered pattern as they grow. While such work can provide a learning opportunity, the time, energy and emotional labour put into it can be detrimental to their wellbeing. In this article, we review the empirical evidence on children’s care and domestic work in developing countries, and argue that understanding children’s roles in these tasks can complement the existing social reproduction scholarship, uncovering the intra-household and intergenerational distribution of care and domestic responsibilities, its determinants and effects on child wellbeing. We conclude by noting key conceptual and evidence gaps, and suggesting future research directions. 
Still a leap of faith: Microfinance for prevention of violence against women and girls in low- and middle-income settings

Amber Peterman, Tia Palermo, Giulia Ferrari

Published: 2018
Economic strengthening interventions, including microfinance initiatives have been proposed as promising strategies to reduce interpersonal violence in low-income and middle-income settings. Despite these recommendations, there is little rigorous empirical evidence that microfinance alone or synergistically with gender norms or equity training can reduce violence against children or intimate partner violence.
  • We call for further investments in evidence generation around economic strengthening before scaling-up potentially ineffective interventions

  • WASH and Nutrition Synergies: The Case of Tunisia

    Jose Cuesta, L. Maratou-Kolias

    Published: 2018

    This paper develops a simple econometric strategy to operationalise the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF’s) conceptual framework for nutrition. It estimates the extent to which child stunting correlates with investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) across population groups (poor and nonpoor) and residence (urban and rural). Moving away from estimating single intervention marginal returns, the empirical framework of intervention packages is tested in Tunisia, a country with notable but uneven progress in reducing stunting. A successful nutritional strategy will thereby require mapping the distinctive intervention packages by residence and socio-economic status, away from universal policies, that more strongly correlate with reduction in stunting.

    Tackling Income Inequality: What Works and Why?

    Jose Cuesta, Mario Negre, Ana Revenga, Maika Schmidt

    Published: 2018
    This article reviews the most recent and relevant evidence on key domestic policy interventions that are effective in reducing income inequality in developing countries, the benefits they generate, the choices that need to be made regarding their design and implementation, and the trade-offs that are associated with them. It focuses on a few policy areas in which there is a sufficient body of rigorous evidence to draw useful lessons with confidence: early childhood development, including breastfeeding; universal health care; good-quality education; conditional cash transfers; Investments in rural infrastructure; and taxation. The review concludes that there are many pathways to reducing inequality, from narrowing gaps in income generation opportunities to narrowing the potential for inequalities in human capital development before the inequalities emerge, smoothing consumption among the most deprived, and Redistribution in favor of the poor. Many interventions are simultaneously associated with equalizing outcomes, improved competition, and economic efficiency. Good interventions combining equality promotion and efficiency are possible in all settings and at different times; this includes interventions disproportionately benefiting the poorest in low-income countries during periods of crisis. Despite the significant increase in knowledge about equality interventions, the article makes a strong call for more microeconomic data and better—more precise—analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions
    Poverty, Disputes and Access to Justice in Conflict Affected Areas of Indonesia

    Jose Cuesta, E. Skoufias, L. Madrigal

    Published: 2018
    This analysis explores the determinants behind the unequal access to justice services among poor Indonesians. The study analyzes the stock of observed past disputes by socioeconomic group and the demand for conflict resolution services for unresolved conflicts or “trajectories.” It also models the hypothetical demand of justice services for future disputes. Results suggest that unequal access to justice might go beyond the financial costs of seeking justice and also depends on individual preferences and community infrastructure. These findings warn against focusing exclusively on formal justice costs to improve the equal access of the poor to conflict resolution services.
    Cite this publication | No. of pages: 21-38 | Tags: justice, poverty, inequality
    A mixed-method review of Intimate partner violence and cash transfers in low- and middle-income countries

    A.M. Buller, Amber Peterman, M. Raganathan, A. Bleile, M. Hidrobo, L. Heise

    Published: 2018
    There is increasing evidence that cash transfer (CT) programs decrease intimate partner violence (IPV). However, little is known about how CTs achieve this impact. We conducted a mixed-method review of studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Fourteen quantitative and eight qualitative studies met our inclusion criteria, of which eleven and five, respectively, demonstrated evidence that CTs decrease IPV. We found little support for increases in IPV, with only two studies showing overall mixed or adverse impacts. Drawing on these studies, as well as related bodies of evidence, we developed a program theory proposing three pathways through which CT could impact IPV: (a) economic security and emotional well-being, (b) intra-household conflict, and (c) women's empowerment. The economic security and well-being pathway hypothesizes decreases in IPV, while the other two pathways have ambiguous effects depending on program design features and behavioral responses to program components. Future studies should improve IPV measurement, empirical analysis of program mechanisms, and fill regional gaps. Program framing and complementary activities, including those with the ability to shift intra-household power relations are likely to be important design features for understanding how to maximize and leverage the impact of CTs for reducing IPV, and mitigating potential adverse impacts. Intimate partner violence. Domestic violence. Cash transfers. Women's empowerment
    Context and Measurement: An analysis of the relationship between intrahoushold decision making and autonomy

    G. Seymour, Amber Peterman

    Published: 2018
    Using data from two culturally distinct locales, Bangladesh and Ghana, we investigate whether men and women who report sole decision making in a particular domain experience stronger (or weaker) feelings of autonomous motivation—measured using the Relative Autonomy Index (RAI)—compared to those who report joint decision making. Used primarily in psychology, the RAI measures the extent to which an individual’s actions are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, where higher scores indicate greater autonomy. On aggregate, we find differences between men and women, and across countries, in the significance of association between the individual’s level of participation in decision-making and autonomy. In addition, we find heterogeneity in the strength of this association, depending on the domain (e.g., productive versus personal decisions) and whether partners agree on who normally makes decisions. These findings imply that details related to context and measurement matter for understanding individual decision-making power. We argue that all research using information on decision-making should include a careful analysis of men’s and women’s perceptions of decision making within the household, which may be useful for calibrating indicators to suit specific contexts.
    Cite this publication | No. of pages: 97-112 | Tags: cash transfers, household income
    41 - 50 of 96