Social connectedness at the playground before and after COVID-19 school closure

Adva Eichengreen*, Yung-Ting Tsou, Maedeh Nasri, Lisa-Maria van Klaveren, Boya Li, Alexander Koutamanis, Mitra Baratchi, Els Blijd-Hoogewys, Joost Kok, Carolien Rieffe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Social connectedness at school is crucial to children's development, yet very little is known about the way it has been affected by school closures during COVID-19 pandemic. We compared pre-post lockdown levels of social connectedness at a school playground in forty-three primary school-aged children, using wearable sensors, observations, peer nominations and self-reports. Upon school reopening, findings from sensors and peer nominations indicated increases in children's interaction time, network diversity and network centrality. Group observations indicated a decrease in no-play social interactions and an increase in children's involvement in social play. Explorative analyses did not reveal relations between changes in peer connectedness and pre-lockdown levels of peer connectedness or social contact during the lockdown period. Findings pointed at the role of recess in contributing to children's social well-being and the importance of attending to their social needs upon reopening.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101562
JournalJournal of applied developmental psychology
Volume87
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Children
  • COVID-19
  • Playground
  • Sensors
  • Social connectedness
  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • 2024 OA procedure

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