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Multilevel Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Bioecological Systems Perspective of Parent and Child Experiences

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posted on 2024-03-08, 05:12 authored by Felicity PainterFelicity Painter, Anna BoothAnna Booth, P Letcher, CA Olsson, Jennifer McIntoshJennifer McIntosh
Background: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and associated public health restrictions created unprecedented challenges for parents and their young dependent children. While psycho-social impacts of natural disasters on families are well studied, a typography of parent specific concerns in the COVID-19 context was yet to be articulated. Objective: Using a bioecological systems framework, we adopted a mixed-methods research design to examine parents’ core concerns about the impacts of the pandemic on themselves and their children, testing for differences in concern foci of mothers compared with fathers. Method: Data were drawn from the Australian Temperament Project Generation 3 (ATPG3) study, a prospective study of children born to a 40-year population-based cohort. During enforced COVID-19 lockdown restrictions between May to September 2020, ATPG3 parents (n = 516) were surveyed about their own and their children’s functioning in the context of the pandemic. Subject of qualitative content analysis, parents (n = 192) experiencing wellbeing concerns offered additional free-text responses about the nature of stress impacting themselves and their child/ren. Results: Parents reported far-reaching impacts for themselves and their children across multiple bioecological systems. Core concerns were for emotional rather than physical health, specifically, for parents this was represented by increased levels of anxiety and stress, and for children, these impacts were notable from a developmental perspective. Greater frequency of parenting related concern was expressed by mothers in comparison to fathers. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate the complex and interrelated nature of multi-systemic and gendered stressors impacting parents during the pandemic, and importantly point to modifiable risk factors which may inform early risk detection efforts.


Publication Date



Child and Youth Care Forum




27p. (p. 411-437)


Springer Nature



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