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Adaptation and evaluation of the effectiveness of a program to promote mental health and resilience in children affected by COVID-19

Grant number: 20/06073-3
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2020 - October 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Psychological Treatment and Prevention
Principal Investigator:Alex Sandro Gomes Pessoa
Grantee:Alex Sandro Gomes Pessoa
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:André Vilela Komatsu ; Lília Iêda Chaves Cavalcante ; Luísa Fernanda Habigzang ; Milene Maria Xavier Veloso ; Normanda Araujo de Morais ; Silvia Renata Magalhães Lordello Borba Santos


Pandemics, in general, compromise people's psychological system and behavior, once they affect the routine, generate insecurity and expose the population to dire realities. In many cases, this context can trigger syndromic conditions resulting from the post-calamity. It can be said that children are at risk because not only they are exposed to the virus, but also because they experience levels of stress, anxiety and tension in the face of the catastrophe they are facing as well. Children's reactions to pandemics depend on several factors, including how they were dealing with the day-to-day challenges before the disaster; how severe the disaster was and how much it impacted their lives; if they lost people they loved; whether they were separated from their parents or other caregivers; and the type of support systems they have after the disaster. Understanding the situations that produced the pandemic, expanding their social support and strengthening family and community bonds are strategies capable of favoring children's resilience processes, since they can imply the construction of social and psychological resources that may help them in coping with the misfortunes generated. Based on these considerations, this research project aims to adapt and verify the effectiveness of a psychosocial intervention program designed for children who have had adverse experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a research-intervention project, carried out from a cross-sectional perspective and which will employ quantitative and qualitative approaches to assess the effectiveness of a psychosocial intervention program developed by Save the Children of Denmark. The program, consisting of 15 sessions, will be tested in a group of approximately 100 children (subdivided into Experimental Group - GEx - and Control Group - GEs). Participants will be recruited in 5 Brazilian cities: São Carlos (SP); Fortaleza (CE); Belém (PA); Brasilia DF); Porto Alegre (RS). In order to verify the effectiveness of the intervention, quantitative and qualitative instruments will be used: i) Children's Depression Inventory - CDI; ii) Child Stress Scale - ESI; iii) Scale of Positive and Negative Affections; iv) Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) - Child Version; v) Map of the Five Fields (MCC); vi) Field diaries. After the translating of the manuals (through back-translation techniques), pre-test, post-test and follow-up procedures will be carried out with both groups. After engaging in the program, it is hypothesized that the participants will present improvements in terms of the mental health indicators evaluated, as well as the resilience processes. If the results obtained confirm the hypotheses, the researchers will organize the material to be disseminated among professionals working with psychosocial interventions, so that the program can be replicated in other contexts after the COVID-19 pandemic. (AU)

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