Parental Stress Associated with Pandemic-Related Disruptions in Services for Children
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Parental Stress Associated with Pandemic-Related Disruptions in Services for Children

Public Access Version Available on: January 01, 2025, 12:00 AM
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Dev Behav Pediatr
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    Families in the United States experienced tremendous disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study evaluated the relationship of parental stress during the pandemic to interruptions in availability of services (childcare, after-school activities, medical appointments) for children.


    We analyzed data from two waves of the Measuring the Impact of Violence Against Children and Women During a Pandemic survey1 to develop a multivariable logistic regression model of the association between caregivers’ stress and pandemic-related disruptions in children’s lives. Caregivers’ past experiences of childhood abuse, recommended stress-relieving activities, and responses to the statement “helping my child(ren) with their education, including remote schoolwork, has been very stressful, and/or has resulted in increased tension at home” were included as covariates. Demographic and socio-economic variables were examined as potential confounders.


    In total 3479 (73.3%) of 4659 respondents reported feeling stressed since the start of the pandemic. For every one-item increase in the number of COVID-19 disruptions in children’s lives, the odds of feeling stressed increased by 20% (OR 1.20: p-value < 0.0001, 95% CI: 1.14 – 1.27). Compared to men, women had a 60% higher odds of feeling stressed (OR 1.60: p-value < 0.0001, 95% CI: 1.32 – 1.93). The covariates listed above were all statistically significant.


    Pandemic-related disruptions in children’s lives were significantly associated with caregiver stress. Women were more likely to feel stressed than men. Sex, education, marital status, and family income were also associated with parental stress. These results suggest that childcare continuity and parental support should be part of disaster planning.

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