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      Parenting-Related Exhaustion During the Italian COVID-19 Lockdown

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          Abstract

          Objective

          Worldwide, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has generated significant worry, uncertainty, anxiety, sadness, and loneliness. In Italy, these effects have been particularly pronounced. While research on the COVID-19 outbreak has mainly focused on the clinical features of infected patients and the psychological impact on the general population and health professionals, no investigation has yet assessed the psychological impact of the pandemic on parents. In the present research, we conducted a web-based survey of Italian parents to examine the prevalence of parenting-related exhaustion—and to identify its associated risk and protective factors—4 weeks into the lockdown.

          Methods

          A total of 1,226 parents provided their consent to participate in the study and completed a demographic questionnaire, information relating to particular COVID-19 experiences, and measures of emotional exhaustion, parental resilience, social connections, and psychological distress during the lockdown.

          Results

          Seventeen percent of our sample experienced significant parenting-related exhaustion, with mothers more severely affected. Multiple regression analyses showed that greater parenting-related exhaustion was predicted by psychological distress, lower parental resilience, motherhood, fewer perceived social connections, and being single, as well as having a child with special needs, having a large number of children, and having younger children.

          Conclusion

          The findings add further support to the call for preventive programs to support parents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health professionals and social workers should be warned of the effects of lockdown and social distancing on parenting and, consequently, the well-being of children.

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          Most cited references59

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          The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence

          Summary The December, 2019 coronavirus disease outbreak has seen many countries ask people who have potentially come into contact with the infection to isolate themselves at home or in a dedicated quarantine facility. Decisions on how to apply quarantine should be based on the best available evidence. We did a Review of the psychological impact of quarantine using three electronic databases. Of 3166 papers found, 24 are included in this Review. Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. Some researchers have suggested long-lasting effects. In situations where quarantine is deemed necessary, officials should quarantine individuals for no longer than required, provide clear rationale for quarantine and information about protocols, and ensure sufficient supplies are provided. Appeals to altruism by reminding the public about the benefits of quarantine to wider society can be favourable.
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            Challenges and burden of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic for child and adolescent mental health: a narrative review to highlight clinical and research needs in the acute phase and the long return to normality

            Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is profoundly affecting life around the globe. Isolation, contact restrictions and economic shutdown impose a complete change to the psychosocial environment in affected countries. These measures have the potential to threaten the mental health of children and adolescents significantly. Even though the current crisis can bring with it opportunities for personal growth and family cohesion, disadvantages may outweigh these benefits. Anxiety, lack of peer contact and reduced opportunities for stress regulation are main concerns. Another main threat is an increased risk for parental mental illness, domestic violence and child maltreatment. Especially for children and adolescents with special needs or disadvantages, such as disabilities, trauma experiences, already existing mental health problems, migrant background and low socioeconomic status, this may be a particularly challenging time. To maintain regular and emergency child and adolescent psychiatric treatment during the pandemic is a major challenge but is necessary for limiting long-term consequences for the mental health of children and adolescents. Urgent research questions comprise understanding the mental health effects of social distancing and economic pressure, identifying risk and resilience factors, and preventing long-term consequences, including—but not restricted to—child maltreatment. The efficacy of telepsychiatry is another highly relevant issue is to evaluate the efficacy of telehealth and perfect its applications to child and adolescent psychiatry. Conclusion There are numerous mental health threats associated with the current pandemic and subsequent restrictions. Child and adolescent psychiatrists must ensure continuity of care during all phases of the pandemic. COVID-19-associated mental health risks will disproportionately hit children and adolescents who are already disadvantaged and marginalized. Research is needed to assess the implications of policies enacted to contain the pandemic on mental health of children and adolescents, and to estimate the risk/benefit ratio of measures such as home schooling, in order to be better prepared for future developments.
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              Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Mental Health for Children and Adolescents

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pediatr Psychol
                J Pediatr Psychol
                jpepsy
                Journal of Pediatric Psychology
                Oxford University Press
                0146-8693
                1465-735X
                Nov-Dec 2020
                17 October 2020
                : 45
                : 10
                : 1114-1123
                Affiliations
                [j1 ] Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara
                [j2 ] Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara
                [j3 ] Department of Human Neuroscience, Sapienza University of Rome
                Author notes
                All correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lilybeth Fontanesi, PhD, Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Via dei Vestini 31, 66100 Chieti (CH), Italy. E-mail: lilybeth.fontanesi@ 123456unich.it
                Article
                jsaa093
                10.1093/jpepsy/jsaa093
                7665691
                33068403
                f79e5d3c-42b2-4688-8ccd-ce25a7286528
                © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Pediatric Psychology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com

                This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic or until permissions are revoked in writing. Upon expiration of these permissions, PMC is granted a perpetual license to make this article available via PMC and Europe PMC, consistent with existing copyright protections.

                History
                : 10 July 2020
                : 08 September 2020
                : 12 September 2020
                Page count
                Pages: 10
                Categories
                COVID-19 Special Series
                AcademicSubjects/MED00810
                AcademicSubjects/SCI02112

                Pediatrics
                parent stress,resilience,social support
                Pediatrics
                parent stress, resilience, social support

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