A selection from Stockholm University publication database
Parental Posttraumatic Stress and School Performance in Refugee Children
2021. Lisa Berg (et al.). Journal of Traumatic StressArticle
Refugee children in the Nordic countries have been reported to perform poorly in school and carry a high burden of familial posttraumatic stress. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of maternal and paternal posttraumatic stress on the school performance of refugee children. We used national register data on school grades at age 15-16 along with demographic and migration indicators during 2011-2017 in a population of 18,831 children in refugee families in Stockholm County, Sweden. Parental posttraumatic stress was identified in regional data from three levels of care, including a tertiary treatment center for victims of torture and war. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were fitted to analyze (a) mean grade point averages as Z scores and (b) eligibility for upper secondary school. In fully adjusted models, children exposed to paternal posttraumatic stress had a lower mean grade point average, SD = -0.14, 95% CI [-0.22, -0.07], and higher odds of not being eligible for upper secondary education, OR = 1.37, 95% CI [1.14, 1.65]. Maternal posttraumatic stress had a similar crude effect on school performance, SD = -0.15, 95% CI [-0.22, -0.07], OR = 1.25, 95% CI [1.00, 1.55], which was attenuated after adjusting for single-parent households and the use of child psychiatric services. The effects were similar for boys and girls as well as for different levels of care. Parental posttraumatic stress had a small negative effect on school performance in refugee children, adding to the intergenerational consequences of psychological trauma.
Mental Health in Schoolchildren in Joint Physical Custody
2021. Anders Hjern (et al.). Children (Basel) 8 (6)Article
This study investigated mental health in schoolchildren in different living arrangements after parental separation. The study population included 31,519 children from the Danish National Birth Cohort, followed-up at age 11 in 2010-2014. Child mental health was measured with a maternal report of the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Associations between living arrangements and mental health were analyzed using logistic and linear regression models, taking into account early childhood indicators of the parents' relations, income, education and psychiatric care. At age 11, children living in a nuclear family had the lowest rate of total SDQ score, 8.9%. Of the children who had experienced parental separation, children in joint physical custody had the lowest adjusted odds ratio (OR)1.25 (95%-CI 1.09-1.44), for a high SDQ score relative to children living in a nuclear family, with adjusted ORs of 1.63 (1.42-1.86) and OR 1.72 (1.52-1.95) for sole physical custody arrangements with and without a new partner. An analysis of change in SDQ scores between ages 7 and 11 in children showed a similar pattern. This study indicates that joint physical custody is associated with slightly more favorable mental health in schoolchildren after parental separation than sole physical custody arrangements.
Impact of lockdown and school closure on children's health and well-being during the first wave of COVID-19
2021. Luis Rajmil (et al.). BMJ Paediatrics Open 5 (1)Article
Background In the context of containment measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, the aims were to examine the impact of lockdown and school closures on childs’ and adolescents’ health and well-being and social inequalities in health.
Methods Literature review by searching five databases until November 2020. We included quantitative peer-reviewed studies reporting health and well-being outcomes in children (0–18 years) related to closure measures' impact due to COVID-19. A pair of authors assessed the risk of bias of included studies. A descriptive and narrative synthesis was carried out.
Findings Twenty-two studies, including high-income, middle-income and low-income countries, fulfilled our search criteria and were judged not to have an increased risk of bias. Studies from Australia, Spain and China showed an increase in depressive symptoms and decrease in life satisfaction. A decrease in physical activity and increase in unhealthy food consumption were shown in studies from two countries. There was a decrease in the number of visits to the emergency department in four countries, an increase in child mortality in Cameroon and a decrease by over 50% of immunisations administered in Pakistan. A significant drop of 39% in child protection medical examination referrals during 2020 compared with the previous years was found in the UK, a decrease in allegations of child abuse and neglect by almost one-third due to school closures in Florida, and an increase in the number of children with physical child abuse trauma was found in one centre in the USA.
Interpretation From available reports, pandemic school closure and lockdown have adverse effects on child health and well-being in the short and probably long term. We urge governments to take the negative public health consequences into account before adopting restrictive measures in childhood.
Show all publications by Anders Hjern at Stockholm University