Coping with COVID: pandemic narratives for Australian children

Gildersleeve, Jessica ORCID: and Cantrell, Kate ORCID: and Bryce, India ORCID: and Daken, Kirstie ORCID: and Durham, Jo and Mullens, Amy ORCID: and Batorowicz, Beata ORCID: and Johnson, Rhiannan ORCID: (2022) Coping with COVID: pandemic narratives for Australian children. Heliyon, 8 (5):e09454. pp. 1-9.

Text (Published Version)
Coping with COVID - Gildersleeve et al.pdf
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.

Download (261kB) | Preview


The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic can be recognised as traumatic for the way in which its sudden and unexpected onset disrupted a sense of ordinary life for so many around the world. Adults, and far less so children, were unable to prepare for the danger of the rapidly spreading disease. As such, both were left vulnerable to the experience of trauma and anxiety that surrounds the threat of COVID. Whereas adults, however, have access to a range of resources and strategies for mental health protection, children of various ages need targeted resources to enable them to understand, prepare for, and come to terms with a trauma situation. A great deal of research exists around the value of children developing their own narratives as a means of coming to terms with trauma, such that storytelling is identified as a primary coping device. Similarly, literature exists that compares parental narratives of trauma with those of their children. Moreover, the use of the fairy tale as a cautionary tale has long been examined. What has not been established is the way in which contemporary multimedia narratives – such as television programmes, animations, and digital stories – can be used to develop coping strategies in children and to mitigate anxiety in young people experiencing global or collective trauma. This article examines a selection of such narratives produced for Australian children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a cross-disciplinary framework, this work considers how these resources can help (or hinder) mental health recovery in young children under the age of five, as well as strategies for best practice in the future development of trauma-informed resources for this age group.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 48651
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2022 -)
Date Deposited: 30 May 2022 02:44
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2022 23:56
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19; storytelling; pandemic narratives; digital stories; children's health; children's wellbeing; emergency and disaster recovery
Fields of Research (2020): 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470502 Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390302 Early childhood education
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420305 Health and community services
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3602 Creative and professional writing > 360201 Creative writing (incl. scriptwriting)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130103 The creative arts
20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200203 Health education and promotion
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130203 Literature
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280112 Expanding knowledge in the health sciences
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280122 Expanding knowledge in creative arts and writing studies
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160101 Early childhood education
Identification Number or DOI:

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only