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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
SPOTLIGHT

Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
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Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
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How to Measure Enabling and Supportive Systems for Adolescent Health
How to Measure Enabling and Supportive Systems for Adolescent Health

AUTHOR(S)
Russell Viner

Published: 2017 Innocenti Research Briefs

Enabling and protective systems for adolescents are the family, peers and the education and legal systems. In addition to research that focuses on individual adolescents, it is also important for researchers to consider measuring social determinants when conducting research on adolescent well-being. This brief reviews the key concepts of social and structural determinants of health and the methodological issues related to their measurement in adolescence.

The brief is one of seven on research methodologies designed to expand and improve the conduct and interpretation of research on adolescent health and well-being in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Building on the recent Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, these briefs provide an overview of the methodological quality of research on adolescents. They cover topics including: indicators and data sources; research ethics; research with disadvantaged, vulnerable and/or marginalized populations; participatory research; measuring enabling and protective systems for adolescent health; and economic strengthening interventions for improving adolescent well-being.

Why Income Inequalities Matter for Young People’s Health: A look at the evidence
Why Income Inequalities Matter for Young People’s Health: A look at the evidence

AUTHOR(S)
Aixa Y. Alemán-Díaz; Emilia Toczydlowska; Joanna Mazur; Diana Frasquilho; Marina Melkumova; Goran Holmqvist

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

Although child and adolescent inequalities are still less understood than those of adults, we have made progress in understanding the pathways that lead to negative outcomes and the limitations of some ‘adult-specific’ indicators as proxies of young people’s health and well-being. Nonetheless, the academic literature has been able to establish a clear negative relationship between a person’s material circumstances and their health outcomes and behaviours such as being overweight, lack of physical activity, higher levels of smoking and mental health problems, all of which persist throughout a person’s life. The personal and societal toll of these effects is clear, yet policies are still lagging behind, tackling proximal causes rather than ‘the causes of the causes’ of these health inequalities. This paper aims to summarise relevant knowledge on the socio-economic causes of health inequalities in children. It will not only provide a foundation to the Innocenti Report Card 13 in terms of outlining our knowledge regarding the drivers of health inequality but it will also help us shed light on its consequences.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 24 | Thematic area: Adolescents, Health | Tags: adolescent health, income, inequality
Inequalities in Adolescent Health and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study
Inequalities in Adolescent Health and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Zlata Bruckauf; Kwok Ng; Daria Pavlova; Torbjorn Torsheim; Margarida Gaspar de Matos

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

International studies of inequalities in adolescent health tend to focus on the socio-economic gradient in average outcomes rather than their dispersion within countries. Although understanding the extent to which differences in health are related to socio-economic disadvantage is important, focusing exclusively on socio-economic status risks neglecting differences in the distribution of health outcomes within and between countries. To fill this research gap, this study analyses variation in the extent of inequality in the lower half of the distribution in five indicators of adolescent health and well-being – health symptoms, physical activity, healthy eating, unhealthy eating, and life satisfaction – across EU and/or OECD countries that took part in the latest cycle of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study.

Family Affluence and Inequality in Adolescent Health and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the HBSC study 2002-2014
Family Affluence and Inequality in Adolescent Health and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the HBSC study 2002-2014

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Irene Moor; William Pickett; Emilia Toczydlowska; Gonneke Stevens

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

A large body of literature has established socio-economic gradients in adolescent health, but few studies have investigated the extent to which these gradients are associated with very poor health outcomes. The current analysis examined the extent to which the socio-economic background of adolescents relates to very poor self-reported health and well-being (the so-called ’bottom end’). We examined the following as indicators of adolescent health: psychosomatic health complaints; physical activity; healthy eating; unhealthy eating; and life satisfaction. Adolescents who scored below the mean of the lower half of the distribution of a given indicator fall in the “bottom group” on this indicator. The largest, most persistent and widespread socio-economic gradients are in life satisfaction, physical activity and healthy eating, while the findings are mixed for unhealthy eating and psychosomatic health. Socio-economic inequalities were largely stable, but in a sizeable minority of the countries, socio-economic inequalities in physical activity and healthy eating have widened between 2001/02 and 2013/14, while inequalities in unhealthy eating and life satisfaction have narrowed in several countries.

Adolescents at Risk: Psychosomatic health complaints, low life satisfaction, excessive sugar consumption and their relationship with cumulative risks
Adolescents at Risk: Psychosomatic health complaints, low life satisfaction, excessive sugar consumption and their relationship with cumulative risks

AUTHOR(S)
Sophie D. Walsh; Zlata Bruckauf; Tania Gaspar

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
Adolescence is a time of transitions when experimentation, risk taking and active peer interactions can be viewed as a part of the development process. Yet, for some groups of young people with reported poor psychosomatic health, low life satisfaction or unhealthy eating habits these experiences may be different. Empirical evidence is limited for recognising the overlapping and cumulative risks of adolescents’ health disadvantage and multiple externalized risk behaviours and outcomes (smoking, drinking, binge drinking, regular fighting, injuries and bullying). Drawing on the most recent 2013/2014 data of the Health Behaviour of School Children (HBSC) study, this paper examines the risks of individual and cumulative risks (three or more types) associated with being in the bottom group of psychosomatic health complaints, life satisfaction and unhealthy eating (excessive sugar consumption) across 29 countries.
Innocenti Adolescence Research Digest 2
Innocenti Adolescence Research Digest 2

AUTHOR(S)
Emanuela Bianchera

Published: 2016 Miscellanea

This quarterly digest syntheses the latest research findings in adolescent well-being over the previous three months. In this issue of the Adolescence Research Digest we highlight the results of the ground-breaking Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing, which were presented in London in May and Washington in June. The Digest also includes the lasts news, upcoming events, resources and the latest high profile research studies on adolescent well-being and health. Additional readings are also listed. The Digest aims to promote awareness and uptake of new adolescent well-being research findings amongst UNICEF staff, practitioners, policymakers and academics in the development and humanitarian sectors.

Parenting, Family Care and Adolescence in East and Southern Africa: An evidence-focused literature review
Parenting, Family Care and Adolescence in East and Southern Africa: An evidence-focused literature review

AUTHOR(S)
Rachel Bray; Andrew Dawes

Published: 2016 Innocenti Discussion Papers

Based on an evidence-focused literature review, this paper examines existing knowledge on raising adolescents in east and southern African countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Country selection was based on the availability of relevant literature and data. The vast majority of studies on parenting and adolescent development is based on research from the global north. This research sought to deepen understandings of family life, care practices and support networks in the east and southern African region so as to inform policy and interventions that seek to improve adolescent-family relations and reduce risk behaviours. An evidence-informed model for understanding the ecology of adolescent-parent relationships in the cultural and economic contexts of the region is provided. In addition, a framework for exploring contextually-relevant dimensions of parenting through research and practice is offered.

The Repercussions of the Economic Recession in Greece on Adolescents and their Families
The Repercussions of the Economic Recession in Greece on Adolescents and their Families

AUTHOR(S)
Anna Kokkevi; Myrto Stavrou; Eleftheria Kanavou; Anastasios Fotiou

Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
The impact of the economic crisis is reflected in the increase of parental unemployment, tensions and fights within the family, constraints on going on holidays, and in fewer private lessons. Student’s life satisfaction has fallen. Findings enhance our understanding of the impact of the economic crisis on adolescents and families in Greece. These data may aid the shaping of policies to protect families and their offspring from the repercussions of the current crisis.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.
Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation
Publication

Resources to Support Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Guidelines for Implementation

Support from caregivers is critical for children’s learning both at home and at school. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of education systems globally created additional expectations for parents to support their children’s learning at home. This particularly affected the most marginalized children as the crises exacerbated already existing inequalities in education. This document introduces the approach and purpose of a set of resources to support the marginalized caregivers of children with disabilities with inclusive education. It presents lessons learned from proof-of-concept pilots in Armenia and Uzbekistan, followed by step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt and adapt the resources for education ministries and others who want to implement them in their education system.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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