COVID-19 may have increased mental health issues within families – Study

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, many families found themselves suddenly isolated together at home. A year later, new research has linked this period with a variety of large, detrimental effects on individuals’ and families’ well-being and functioning.

The study — led by Penn State researchers — found that in the first months of the pandemic, parents reported that their children were experiencing much higher levels of “internalizing” problems like depression and anxiety, and “externalizing” problems such as disruptive and aggressive behavior, than before the pandemic. Parents also reported that they themselves were experiencing much higher levels of depression and lower levels of coparenting quality with their partners.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Mark Feinberg, research professor of health and human development at Penn State, said the results — recently published in the journal Family Process — give insight into just how devastating periods of family and social stress can be for parents and children, and how important a good coparenting relationship can be for family well-being.

“Stress in general — whether daily hassles or acute, crisis-driven stress — typically leads to greater conflict and hostility in family relationships,” Feinberg said. “If parents can support each other in these situations, the evidence from past research indicates that they will be able to be more patient and more supportive with their children, rather than becoming more harsh and angry.”

3 Comments

Filed under COVID-19, dealing with stress, mental health, stress

3 responses to “COVID-19 may have increased mental health issues within families – Study

  1. After reading the data you present, I’m astonished we did so well. We had it all; financial stress, stuck in the house together, the whole nine yards… and we made the best of it and actually grew closer as a family. Our 14 year old took it hardest, but she’s always been into the high drama. Overall, though, I felt we did very well. Great post, Tony.

    Like

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