Coronavirus (COVID-19): impact on children, young people and families - evidence summary October 2020

Summary of Scottish and UK evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on the wellbeing of children and young people.

17. Scope, limitations and further information

This briefing document is intended to provide information and raise awareness on current and emerging published evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 on children and young people, including those with vulnerabilities and/or those experiencing disadvantage.

Research scope and limitations

The scope of these briefings is very broad to cover a range of policy interests. It covers a non-systematic selection of evidence sources from Scotland and other parts of the UK published in September (mostly). In the main, however, the following topics are excluded:

  • Early years and maternity;
  • Most aspects of physical health, in particular COVID-19 infection and transmission in children and young people;
  • A detailed coverage of the impact of COVID-19 on education and learning.

Please note there are limitations to the conclusions that can be made from the evidence presented for the following reasons:

  • Much of the survey data lacks robust comparability to pre-lockdown baseline data due to questions asked or data collection changes.
  • Few studies have used validated self-report measures e.g. of mental wellbeing (e.g. WEMWBS, SDQ).
  • Results from different surveys and sources will not be comparable given the different sampling approaches, timing, jurisdiction and questions used in each survey.
  • Changes in the different government guidance over the course of the pandemic and within different parts of the UK is also likely to impact on results.

This briefing is not an exhaustive overview or a critical appraisal or endorsement of the quality of research. A rapid review of academic literature is outwith the scope of this briefing.

Please note that some of these summaries have been drawn from the NSPCC Learning series updates (CASPAR weekly update) and the Care Inspectorate Children and Young People Bulletin series which readers may wish to subscribe to.

Children and Families Analytical Unit, Scottish Government



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