Children's behavioural and emotional wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from the Born in Bradford COVID-19 mixed methods longitudinal study

Ellena Badrick, Rachael Moss, Claire McIvor, Charlotte Endacott, Kirsty Crossley, Zahrah Tanveer, Kate Pickett, Rosemary McEachan, Josie Dickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The COVID-19 pandemic led to a multitude of immediate social restrictions for many across the world. In the UK, the lives of children and young people were quickly impacted when COVID-19 restrictions led to school closures for most children and restrictions on social interactions. The Born in Bradford COVID-19 longitudinal research study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of children and their families living in Bradford.

Surveys were administered during the first wave of the pandemic (March to June 2020) and compared to findings from before the pandemic. The current study examined the social and emotional wellbeing of children from before to during the pandemic, measured using the parent completed Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire (SDQ). Regression analyses looked at associations between a range of social determinants of health and changes in SDQ scores.

The results showed that those children most likely to experience difficulties during the pandemic were boys, younger children, those from White British ethnicity (compared to Pakistani heritage children) and those living in the most deprived areas. There were associations between experiencing difficulties and: food insecurity; financial worry; getting below recommended levels of physical activity; and having less than the recommended amount of sleep.

The effect of COVID-19 restrictions are likely to have had negative consequences on children that could, in time, have long-lasting impacts on the health, wellbeing and development of children in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36
Number of pages12
JournalWellcome Open Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Feb 2024

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© 2024 Badrick E et al.

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