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      Stress and Parenting during the Global COVID-19 Pandemic


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          Stress and compromised parenting often place children at risk of abuse and neglect. Child maltreatment has generally been viewed as a highly individualistic problem by focusing on stressors and parenting behaviors that impact individual families. However, because of the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), families across the world are experiencing a new range of stressors that threaten their health, safety, and economic well-being.


          This study examined the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to parental perceived stress and child abuse potential.

          Participants and Setting

          Participants included parents ( N = 183) with a child under the age of 18 years in the western United States.


          Tests of group differences and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were employed to assess the relationships among demographic characteristics, COVID-19 related stressors, mental health risk, protective factors, parental perceived stress, and child abuse potential.


          Greater COVID-19 related stressors and high anxiety and depressive symptoms are associated with higher parental perceived stress and child abuse potential. Conversely, greater parental support and perceived control during the pandemic may have a protective effect against perceived stress and child abuse potential. Results also indicate racial and ethnic differences in COVID-19 related stressors, but not in mental health risk, protective factors, perceived stress, or child abuse potential.


          Findings suggest that although families experience elevated stressors from COVID-19, providing parental support and increasing perceived control may be promising intervention targets.

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          Most cited references45

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          Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response

          The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here we discuss evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behaviour, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping. In each section, we note the nature and quality of prior research, including uncertainty and unsettled issues. We identify several insights for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight important gaps researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.
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            Generalized anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms and sleep quality during COVID-19 outbreak in China: a web-based cross-sectional survey

            Highlights • The COVID-19 outbreak significantly affects the mental health of Chinese public • During the outbreak, young people had a higher risk of anxiety than older people • Spending too much time thinking about the outbreak is harmful to mental health • Healthcare workers were at high risk for poor sleep
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              Mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal probability sample survey of the UK population

              Summary Background The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on population mental health is of increasing global concern. We examine changes in adult mental health in the UK population before and during the lockdown. Methods In this secondary analysis of a national, longitudinal cohort study, households that took part in Waves 8 or 9 of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) panel, including all members aged 16 or older in April, 2020, were invited to complete the COVID-19 web survey on April 23–30, 2020. Participants who were unable to make an informed decision as a result of incapacity, or who had unknown postal addresses or addresses abroad were excluded. Mental health was assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Repeated cross-sectional analyses were done to examine temporal trends. Fixed-effects regression models were fitted to identify within-person change compared with preceding trends. Findings Waves 6–9 of the UKHLS had 53 351 participants. Eligible participants for the COVID-19 web survey were from households that took part in Waves 8 or 9, and 17 452 (41·2%) of 42 330 eligible people participated in the web survey. Population prevalence of clinically significant levels of mental distress rose from 18·9% (95% CI 17·8–20·0) in 2018–19 to 27·3% (26·3–28·2) in April, 2020, one month into UK lockdown. Mean GHQ-12 score also increased over this time, from 11·5 (95% CI 11·3–11·6) in 2018–19, to 12·6 (12·5–12·8) in April, 2020. This was 0·48 (95% CI 0·07–0·90) points higher than expected when accounting for previous upward trends between 2014 and 2018. Comparing GHQ-12 scores within individuals, adjusting for time trends and significant predictors of change, increases were greatest in 18–24-year-olds (2·69 points, 95% CI 1·89–3·48), 25–34-year-olds (1·57, 0·96–2·18), women (0·92, 0·50–1·35), and people living with young children (1·45, 0·79–2·12). People employed before the pandemic also averaged a notable increase in GHQ-12 score (0·63, 95% CI 0·20–1·06). Interpretation By late April, 2020, mental health in the UK had deteriorated compared with pre-COVID-19 trends. Policies emphasising the needs of women, young people, and those with preschool aged children are likely to play an important part in preventing future mental illness. Funding None.

                Author and article information

                Child Abuse Negl
                Child Abuse Negl
                Child Abuse & Neglect
                Elsevier Ltd.
                20 August 2020
                20 August 2020
                : 104699
                [a ]Corresponding Author atSchool of Social Work, Colorado State University, 1586 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA
                [b ]Department of Psychology, University of Denver; Address: 2155 S. Race St., Denver, CO, 80210, USA
                [c ]School of Social Work, Arizona State University; Address: 4701 W. Thunderbird Rd., Glendale, AZ, 85306, USA
                [d ]School of Social Work, Colorado State University; Address: 1586 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Samantha.Brown@ 123456colostate.edu
                S0145-2134(20)30354-9 104699
                © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                : 26 June 2020
                : 15 August 2020
                : 17 August 2020

                child maltreatment,covid-19,pandemic,parenting,stress
                child maltreatment, covid-19, pandemic, parenting, stress


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