International Conference “22nd Days of Psychology in Zadar” was held online, from 1st to 3rd October 2020. Psychologists from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center participated as active presenter.

The first day of the international conference, as part of the symposium “PSYCHOVID-19: Insight into psychological research during the pandemic COVID-19” whose moderator was professor Anita Vulić Prtorić, PhD, psychologist Krešimir Prijatelj gave a lecture “Research project: Some aspects of mental health during the pandemic COVID-19” which was created in cooperation with the City of Zagreb and the our Center (Authors: Head of the City Office for Social Welfare and Persons with Disabilities Romana Galić and psychologists of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center – Mia Roje Đapić, Ella Selak Bagarić, Ana Raguž and Krešimir Prijatelj). During the lecture, the results of the research project were presented with an emphasis on the methodology of the research itself, advantages, disadvantages and implications for future research on the psychological aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


In addition to authors from the City of Zagreb and our Center, the symposium was attended by the following authors with their research on the mental aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“Science at the service of citizens – Project How are we? Life in Croatia in the age of the corona” – Nataša Jokić-Begić, Ivana Hromatko, Tanja Jurin, Željka Kamenov, Gordana Keresteš, Gordana Kuterovac Jagodić, Anita Lauri Korajlija, Darja Maslić Seršić, Jasmina Mehulić, Una Mikac, Claire Sangster Jokić, Meri Tadinac, Jasmina Tomas

“Pandemic and I – psychological aspects of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic″ – Matea Bodrožić Selak, Paola Sturnela, Anita Vulić-Prtorić

“Global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological state and daily activities of individuals with special reference to Croatia and Italy: a project overview” – Vanja Kopilaš, Lovorka Brajković, Srećko Gajović

“New Normal: How has COVID-19 changed our lives?” – Ena Uzelac, Dominik-Borna Ćepulić, Ivan Flis

“Planning and conducting psychological research in the age of COVID-19: threats and opportunities” – Zvonimir Galić, Nikola Erceg, Mitja Ružojčić

On the second day of the conference, the psychologist of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, Krešimir Prijatelj held a presentation on the research “Mental health of people with chronic diseases during the health crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic” on behalf of a group of authors (Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centers’ director professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD and psychologists of the our Center – Krešimir Prijatelj and Mirna Čagalj Farkas).


On the last day of the conference, the psychologist of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, Ana Raguž held two lectures. She held the first lecture on behalf of a group of authors (Ana Raguž, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD and Mia Roje Đapić) entitled “Online experiences of young people: Do we know how to protect them?”. She held the second lecture on behalf of a group of authors (Mia Roje Đapić, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD and Ana Raguž) entitled “Sexual abuse of children: why do we have gray numbers?”.


The papers of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centers’ experts are on the following pages of the Preliminary Book of Abstracts (on Croatian language): Below we also present a translation of the above mention summaries


“SOME ASPECTS OF MENTAL HEALTH DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC” (Symposium: “PSYCHOVID-19: Insight into psychological research during the COVID-19 pandemic”) – Romana Galić, Zagreb City Office for Social Protection and Persons with Disabilities; Krešimir Prijatelj, Mia Roje Đapić, Ella Selak – Bagarić, Ana Raguž, Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center (p. 63.)

At the end of 2019 .from the Chinese province of Hubei, more precisely the city of Wuhan, a new coronavirus has spread around the world, which the World Health Organization called SARS-CoV-2, and an infectious disease caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus disease). By July 2020, no therapy or vaccine has been approved that has been shown to contribute to the treatment or prevention of the spread of the new coronavirus. In addition to the obvious consequences for physical health, the new coronavirus has proven to be a potential threat to the mental health of people around the world, especially in countries that are experiencing an exponential increase in cases of infection. The aim of the research project of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center was to gain insight into the emotional state and needs of citizens during the health crisis in order to provide even better mental health care, bearing in mind the psychological consequences of the pandemic. such as self-isolation, physical distancing, etc.). In view of the above, after reviewing the literature on previous crisis situations, the project examined some relevant indicators of mental health (anxiety, depression, stress, current emotional state, locus of control, social support, hope for the future, coping with stressful situations) and perception certain aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic (assessments: risk of a pandemic, severity of the situation caused by the pandemic, compliance with the measures of the competent institutions, checking the news, fear of possible infection and overblown / imaginary pandemic). In addition, in accordance with the first Chinese studies on the psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain protective and risk factors in the development of mental health difficulties due to the pandemic were identified in the Croatian sample. In addition, during the data collection, the City of Zagreb was hit by strong earthquakes (March 22, 2020) which were also felt in its wider surroundings. In addition, the movements of certain indicators of mental health in the period of earthquakes and subsequent tremors were examined. Data were collected in the period from March 19 to April 17, 2020, and 1482 persons (of which 1230 women) with an average age of 33.3 years (SD = 12.2) participated in the online research project. The collected data will be used for the purpose of writing scientific papers and producing psychoeducational and informative materials, which will be available on the website of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center upon completion. Keywords: health crisis, coronavirus, mental health indicators, psychological consequences, earthquake


“MENTAL HEALTH OF PERSONS WITH CHRONIC DISEASES DURING THE HEALTH CRISIS CAUSED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC” – Gordana Buljan Flander, Krešimir Prijatelj, Mirna Čagalj Farkas, Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center (p. 75.)

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2019 virus a global pandemic. Previous research and clinical practice have shown that people with a history of chronic diseases are at higher risk of a more serious clinical picture, but also of death from COVID-19 (coronavirus) (Graziano et al., 2020). It has also been shown that people with chronic diseases are more likely to develop certain mental health difficulties during a pandemic (Brooks et al., 2020). The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress in the Croatian sample during the pandemic between the group of individuals who state that they are ill and those who state that they do not suffer from chronic diseases. Also, the aim of the study was to examine whether there is a moderating effect of chronic diseases on the relationship between hope for the future and anxiety, depression and stress. The data were collected as part of a broader research project of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center. The study involved 1482 participants (of which 1230 women), with an average age of 33.3 years (SD = 12.2 years). Of the total number of participants, 205 stated that they were suffering from a chronic disease. For the needs of a specific study, relevant scales were singled out, which were part of a more extensive online questionnaire: Adapted scale of depression, anxiety and stress (Reić Ercegovac and Penezić, 2012); Adapted scale of hope for the future (Tucak Junaković, 2010) and a questionnaire of demographic data. It was found that there is a statistically significant difference in anxiety: t (245.96) = 3.82; p <.001 with small effect size: d = 0.34, under stress: t (263.93) = 2.32; p = .02 with small effect size: d = 0.18 and in depression: t (255.1) = 2.41; p = .02 with small effect size: d = 0.2. In all cases, people with chronic disease achieved higher scores. Furthermore, chronic diseases have been shown to have a significant moderating effect in relation to future hope and anxiety: F (1, 1480) = 13.1; p <.001; ΔR2 =, 01, depression: F (1, 1480) = 3.86; p =, 0497; ΔR2 = .002 and stress: F (1, 1480) = 13.1; p <.001; ΔR2 = .002. The negative correlation between hope for the future and mental health indicators is greater in people who have a chronic illness. Given the results obtained, in the coming period it is necessary to focus additional resources on preserving not only the physical but also the mental health of individuals suffering from chronic diseases. Keywords: coronavirus, health crisis, mental health indicators, hope for the future


“ONLINE YOUTH EXPERIENCES: DO WE KNOW HOW TO PROTECT THEM?” – Ana Raguž, Gordana Buljan Flander, Mia Roje Đapić, Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center (p. 136.)

Peer violence is a problem that many professionals, parents and all those involved in raising children face every day. In Croatia, every fifth child is a victim of violence among children. In addition to live violence, every other child has experienced one of the abusive behaviors on the Internet (calling derogatory names, spreading false rumors on social networks, forums; receiving explicit images without asking for them, constant questioning of personal information, physical threats and spreading explicit images of others without their permits). Specifics of electronic violence such as anonymity or lack of contact with the victim, constant and continuous exposure, unlimited audience and lack of supervision lead to a pronounced experience of insecurity of the victim and a reduced sense of responsibility of the perpetrator. Research shows that children victims of cyberbullying have greater mental health consequences, report significantly more social hardship, and higher levels of depression and anxiety than victims of traditional peer violence. In this presentation, new forms of electronic violence (sexting and sextortion) will be presented based on the results of a representative survey conducted on more than 1,800 Croatian high school students. The trend of statistics will be compared with previously conducted research in Croatia. Specific guidelines for work and treatment of victims and juvenile offenders within the health, social care, police and education systems will be considered for all those involved in the child protection sectors on a daily basis. Keywords: Children, internet, child protection, electronic violence


“SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN: WHY DO WE HAVE GRAY NUMBERS?” – Mia Roje Đapić, Gordana Buljan Flander, Ana Raguž, Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center (p. 138.)

Sexual abuse of children and young people is a public health problem, although the general, and unfortunately sometimes professional, public considers it to be rare. Croatian research of the anonymous type, in accordance with European and world findings, systematically shows that by the age of 18, every fifth child is sexually abused in some way. Nevertheless, an analysis of the existing documentation of the social welfare and justice system, both at the Croatian and European level, shows that less than five percent of children and young people have been sexually abused. The report is estimated to occur in one in ten or even twenty cases, and the average time from the onset of abuse to disclosure is ten to sixteen years. Children do not expose sexual abuse most often out of fear, shame, guilt, and love for the perpetrator. Even when children expose abuse, due to inadequate reactions of close people, the environment and the system, they know how to withdraw their testimony and deny previously reported abuse. Then their cases are also removed from official records. Contemporary research describes the similarities of the process of delaying disclosure and withdrawal of testimony with respect to the characteristics of the child, the perpetrator, the family constellation, society, and the broader systemic response. In this presentation we will try to explain the gray number of assessments of the incidence and prevalence of sexual abuse of minors and in accordance with research and clinical practice point out the importance of empowering professionals to provide child victims with urgent and urgent protection, mental health support, and the unequivocal message of society that the child is not guilty of the abuse experienced, but that the perpetrator is being prosecuted in accordance with the law. Keywords: Sexual abuse, children, disclosure, withdrawal of testimony.


Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center cannot be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy.   

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