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 journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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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
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


The project was supported by the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (a VIDI grant) by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NOW), grant no. 452–07-004 to Carolien Rieffe; and by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement, grant no. 707404 to Adva Eichengreen.


  • Children
  • COVID-19
  • Playground
  • Sensors
  • Social connectedness


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