Child Development Special Section: The Impact of COVID-19 on Child Development around the World

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the number of Letters of Intent we have received for the Special Section, various section deadlines have been pushed back. Please review the full timeline for details.

Child Development invites manuscripts for a Special Section on The Impact of COVID-19 on Child Development around the World. The Special Section Editors are Nirmala Rao (The University of Hong Kong) and Philip Fisher (University of Oregon).

Learn more about Child Development Journal 

As of July 2020, over 10 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic has resulted in over half a million deaths around the world. These numbers are certain to continue increasing over time. The impact of the virus itself and measures deployed to reduce the transmission of the disease have already had dramatic impacts on the lives of children all over the world and some of the necessary public health measures to contain the pandemic are perpetuating inequalities.  For example, while school closures have affected over 1.4 billion students globally, the pandemic has disproportionately affected children from certain groups. Children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, those with additional health and/or special needs, those with limited access to digital resources, those from families in which there are mental health and addiction issues, and those from low- and middle- income countries have been the most impacted. There is also considerable intersectionality between the pandemic’s impact on child development and issues of structural inequality and racism in many countries. Further, increases in family conflict, domestic violence and child maltreatment, and job loss leading to poverty have been documented worldwide.

Although there may be commonality in the effects on children across geographies, we know that the public health strategies taken by countries to reduce transmission are likely to be driven by locally contextual aspects such as cultural norms, laws, and resources (human, technical, infrastructural, and financial). Within the field of child development and in related disciplines, researchers were quick to respond to the pandemic by gathering data via a number of innovative methodologies.  As a result, there is a rapidly emerging body of empirical research documenting the impact of COVID-19 on children around the world and the effectiveness of a range of intervention strategies to support child development during these exceptional times.

We invite submission of manuscripts based on original, empirical studies of the impact of the pandemic on children, youth, and families, and on efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on children. We welcome papers that espouse an explicit developmental framework and that deploy quantitative, qualitative, or mixed method approaches to elucidate mechanisms of COVID-19’s impact on child development; please note, however, that we are not targeting papers that are exclusively reviews of the literature or concept papers. We also enthusiastically welcome submissions from populations that are underrepresented in the mainstream child development literature.



September 1, 2020

Authors who plan to submit a manuscript for the special section must submit a letter of intent (LOI) by September 1, 2020.

The LOI MUST include a tentative title, author contact details and a brief scientific case (approximately 1000 words) for consideration of the proposed submission. The brief should emphasize: (i) the significance of the focal research questions for advancing research on the impact of COVID-19 on child development; (ii) the proposed methods; and (iii) initial findings.

The Special Section Editors will review letters of intent for fit with the section and work to provide the broadest representation of high-quality submissions.

The LOI must be sent electronically as a PDF document to (Do not send the LOI directly to the Co-Editors as LOI directed in this way may not receive consideration). In the accompanying e-mail, please include “Special Section on COVID-19” in the subject line.

October 1, 2020

UPDATE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the number of Letters of Intent we have received for the Special Section, we will be delayed in contacting potential contributors to request submission of a full manuscript. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your understanding and patience.

Following a review of the LOI, potential contributors will be contacted by October 1, 2020 and requested to submit a full manuscript.

Submissions should be not more than 40 pages in length, inclusive of everything (body text, references, tables/figures, etc.), but extensive use of web supplements is strongly encouraged. Longer manuscripts will be considered if sufficiently justified. Please review the Child Development Submission Guidelines for additional requirements.

February 1, 2021

Invited manuscripts only should be submitted through Child Development’s submission portal by February 1, 2021.

All manuscripts will undergo Child Development’s rigorous peer review process.

March 1, 2021

Request for revisions will be sent back to authors by March 1, 2021.

March 31, 2021

Revised manuscripts should be submitted through Child Development’s submission portal by March 31, 2021.

May 17, 2021

A final decision will be rendered by May 17, 2021. Accepted manuscripts will be published online immediately. Expected issue publication is Fall 2021.


Questions concerning the substance of submissions should be directed to: Nirmala Rao ( and/or Philip Fisher (; questions concerning the submission process should be sent to the SRCD Publications Manager, Rachel Walther, at