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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of millions of people around the globe and some of the unprecedent emerged disruptions, are likely to have been particularly challenging for young children (e.g., school closures, social distancing measures, movement restrictions). Studying the impact of such extraordinary circumstances on their well-being is crucial to identify processes leading to risk and resilience. To better understand how Spanish children have adapted (or fail to) to the stressful disruptions resulting from the pandemic outbreak, we examined the effects of child coping and its interactions with contextual stressors (pandemic and family-related) on child adjustment, incorporating in our analysis a developmental perspective. Data was collected in April 2020, through parent-reports, during the acute phase of the pandemic and, temporarily coinciding with the mandatory national quarantine period imposed by the Spanish Government. A sample of 1,123 Spanish children (50% girls) aged three to 12 (Mage = 7.26; SD = 2.39) participated in the study. Results showed differences in the use of specific strategies by children in different age groups (i.e., 3-6, 7-9 and 10-12-year-olds). Despite the uncontrollable nature of the pandemic-related stressors, child disengagement coping was distinctively associated to negative outcomes (i.e., higher levels of behavioral and emotional difficulties), whereas engagement coping predicted psychosocial adjustment across all age groups. Moreover, interactively with child coping, parent fear of the future and parent dispositional resilience appear as relevant contextual factors to predict both negative and positive outcomes, but their effects seem to be age dependent, suggesting a higher contextual vulnerability for younger children. These findings might have implications for identifying individual and contextual risk and informing potential preventive interventions aimed to reduce the impact of future pandemic outbreaks on children of different ages.

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Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions to the lives of families. This study aimed to investigate the impact of pandemic-associated stress on food parenting practices including interactions surrounding snacks, and child diet. Methods Parents (N = 318) of 2-12-year old children completed a cross-sectional online survey assessing current COVID-19-specific stress, pre-COVID-19 stress, financial stress (e.g. food insecurity), food parenting practices, and child snack intake frequency. Structural Equation Modeling was used to model simultaneous paths of relationships and test direct and indirect effects. Results Stress, including financial hardship, was higher compared with before the crisis. The majority of children had regular mealtimes and irregular snack times. Higher COVID-19-specific stress was associated with more non-nutritive use of food and snacks (e.g. emotional and instrumental feeding), but also more structure and positive interactions (e.g. eating with or engaging with child around mealtimes). Higher COVID-19-specific stress was also associated with greater child intake frequency of sweet and savory snacks, with some evidence for mediation by snack parenting practices. Conclusion Our findings indicate that stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may be linked to child snack intake with potential impacts on child obesity risk, and suggest several modifiable points of intervention within the family context.
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The present study aimed to examine the effects of the Spanish confinement derived from the COVID-19 crisis on children and their families, accounting for child's age. A range of child negative (e.g., conduct problems) and positive outcomes (e.g., routine maintenance) were examined, along with a set of parent-related variables, including resilience, perceived distress, emotional problems, parenting distress and specific parenting practices (e.g., structured or avoidant parenting), which were modeled through path analysis to better understand child adjustment. Data were collected in April 2020, with information for the present study provided by 940 (89.6%) mothers, 102 (9.7%) fathers and 7 (0.7%) different caregivers, who informed on 1049 Spanish children (50.4% girls) aged 3 to 12 years (M age = 7.29; SD = 2.39). The results suggested that, according to parents' information, most children did not show important changes in behavior, although some increasing rates were observed for both negative and positive outcomes. Child adjustment was influenced by a chain of effects, derived from parents' perceived distress and emotional response to the COVID-19 crisis, via parenting distress and specific parenting practices. While parenting distress in particular triggered child negative outcomes, specific parenting practices were more closely related to child positive outcomes. These findings may help to better inform, for potential future outbreaks, effective guidelines and prevention programs aimed at promoting the child's well-being in the family.
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The COVID-19 pandemic poses an acute threat to the well-being of children and families due to challenges related to social disruption such as financial insecurity, caregiving burden, and confinement-related stress (e.g., crowding, changes to structure, and routine). The consequences of these difficulties are likely to be longstanding, in part because of the ways in which contextual risk permeates the structures and processes of family systems. The current article draws from pertinent literature across topic areas of acute crises and long-term, cumulative risk to illustrate the multitude of ways in which the well-being of children and families may be at risk during COVID-19. The presented conceptual framework is based on systemic models of human development and family functioning and links social disruption due to COVID-19 to child adjustment through a cascading process involving caregiver well-being and family processes (i.e., organization, communication, and beliefs). An illustration of the centrality of family processes in buffering against risk in the context of COVID-19, as well as promoting resilience through shared family beliefs and close relationships, is provided. Finally, clinical and research implications are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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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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Background: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic is a public health emergency of international concern and poses a challenge to psychological resilience. Research data are needed to develop evidence-driven strategies to reduce adverse psychological impacts and psychiatric symptoms during the epidemic. The aim of this study was to survey the general public in China to better understand their levels of psychological impact, anxiety, depression, and stress during the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak. The data will be used for future reference. Methods: From 31 January to 2 February 2020, we conducted an online survey using snowball sampling techniques. The online survey collected information on demographic data, physical symptoms in the past 14 days, contact history with COVID-19, knowledge and concerns about COVID-19, precautionary measures against COVID-19, and additional information required with respect to COVID-19. Psychological impact was assessed by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), and mental health status was assessed by the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). Results: This study included 1210 respondents from 194 cities in China. In total, 53.8% of respondents rated the psychological impact of the outbreak as moderate or severe; 16.5% reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms; 28.8% reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms; and 8.1% reported moderate to severe stress levels. Most respondents spent 20–24 h per day at home (84.7%); were worried about their family members contracting COVID-19 (75.2%); and were satisfied with the amount of health information available (75.1%). Female gender, student status, specific physical symptoms (e.g., myalgia, dizziness, coryza), and poor self-rated health status were significantly associated with a greater psychological impact of the outbreak and higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05). Specific up-to-date and accurate health information (e.g., treatment, local outbreak situation) and particular precautionary measures (e.g., hand hygiene, wearing a mask) were associated with a lower psychological impact of the outbreak and lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05). Conclusions: During the initial phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, more than half of the respondents rated the psychological impact as moderate-to-severe, and about one-third reported moderate-to-severe anxiety. Our findings identify factors associated with a lower level of psychological impact and better mental health status that can be used to formulate psychological interventions to improve the mental health of vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 epidemic.
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The term ‘stress’ − coined in 1936 − has many definitions, but until now has lacked a theoretical foundation. Here we present an information-theoretic approach − based on the ‘free energy principle’ − defining the essence of stress; namely, uncertainty. We address three questions: What is uncertainty? What does it do to us? What are our resources to master it? Mathematically speaking, uncertainty is entropy or ‘expected surprise’. The ‘free energy principle’ rests upon the fact that self-organizing biological agents resist a tendency to disorder and must therefore minimize the entropy of their sensory states. Applied to our everyday life, this means that we feel uncertain, when we anticipate that outcomes will turn out to be something other than expected − and that we are unable to avoid surprise. As all cognitive systems strive to reduce their uncertainty about future outcomes, they face a critical constraint: Reducing uncertainty requires cerebral energy. The characteristic of the vertebrate brain to prioritize its own high energy is captured by the notion of the ‘selfish brain’. Accordingly, in times of uncertainty, the selfish brain demands extra energy from the body. If, despite all this, the brain cannot reduce uncertainty, a persistent cerebral energy crisis may develop, burdening the individual by ‘allostatic load’ that contributes to systemic and brain malfunction (impaired memory, atherogenesis, diabetes and subsequent cardio- and cerebrovascular events). Based on the basic tenet that stress originates from uncertainty, we discuss the strategies our brain uses to avoid surprise and thereby resolve uncertainty.
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Parenting programmes are very much a part of the international landscape in Western communities. Coping skills provide a useful resource for parents and children in managing their everyday lives, both together and individually. Following a 5-year research programme with parents and children in an early years setting, Families Can Do Coping was developed as a comprehensive parenting skills programme that incorporates parents’ understanding of their own coping and that of their children. The programme was delivered with the twin aims of teaching communication and coping skills to parents. In 2012, five 2-hour sessions were delivered to 19 parents in an Early Learning Centre at the University of Melbourne. The five-session programme focused on providing parents with information regarding coping skills and the use of visual tools to assist parents to engage with their children in conversations about coping. Additionally, parents completed a pencil-and-paper coping skills evaluation for their child. The programme outcomes included perceptions of parents’ enhancement of their wellbeing, and development of proactive and productive coping skills in both parents and children. After a 3-month period three parents provided feedback on their progress and use of the new tools and strategies for maintaining helpful parenting.
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Resilience may mean different things to different researchers and practitioners in psychology and public health: A process, an outcome, a dynamic steady state in the face of adversity, and defiance of risk/vulnerability are among the variety of understandings of the concept that are extant. This article summarizes the results of a systematic review of the literature on definitions and measurements of resilience. It is evident that resilience is more than the absence of “posttraumatic stress disorder,” just as health (and indeed mental health) is more than the absence of disease (or mental/behavioral disorder). A multidimensional construct, resilience a requires a multimethod and multilevel study design that combines both qualitative and quantitative techniques to be examined satisfactorily. Seven selected studies are discussed in detail, highlighting examples that offer a fuller understanding of resilience in its sociocultural and ecological context.
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Uncertainty about a possible future threat disrupts our ability to avoid it or to mitigate its negative impact and thus results in anxiety. Here, we focus the broad literature on the neurobiology of anxiety through the lens of uncertainty. We identify five processes that are essential for adaptive anticipatory responses to future threat uncertainty and propose that alterations in the neural instantiation of these processes result in maladaptive responses to uncertainty in pathological anxiety. This framework has the potential to advance the classification, diagnosis and treatment of clinical anxiety.
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In this chapter, we describe the major developments in the field of resilience since its inception more than 40 years ago. The chapter is organized in four sections, the first one presenting a brief history of work on resilience. The second section is devoted to elucidating critical features of research on this construct, highlighting three sets of issues: definitions and operationalization of the two constructs at its core, protective and vulnerability factors; distinctions between the construct of resilience and related constructs, such as competence and ego resiliency; and differences between resilience research and related fields, including risk research, prevention science, and positive psychology. The third section of the chapter is focused on major findings on vulnerability and protective factors. These are discussed not only in terms of the specific factors found to modify risk within three broad categories--attributes of the family, community, and child--but also in terms of factors that exert strong effects across many risk conditions and those more idiosyncratic to specific risk contexts. The final section includes a summary of extant evidence in the field along with major considerations for future work on resilience across the life span. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Despite consensus that development shapes every aspect of coping, studies of age differences in coping have proven difficult to integrate, primarily because they examine largely unselected age groups, and utilize overlapping coping categories. A developmental framework was used to organize 58 studies of coping involving over 250 age comparisons or correlations with age. The framework was based on (1) conceptualizations of coping as regulation to suggest ages at which coping should show developmental shifts (Skinner & Zimmer-Gembeck, 2009), and (2) notions of hierarchical families to clarify which coping categories should be distinguished at each age (Skinner, Edge, Altman, & Sherwood, 2003). Developmental patterns in coping (e.g., problem-solving, distraction, support-seeking, escape) were scrutinized with a focus on common age shifts. Two kinds of age trends were discerned, one reflecting increases in coping capacities, as seen in support-seeking (from reliance on adults to more self-reliance), problem-solving (from instrumental action to planful problem-solving), and distraction (adding cognitive to behavioural strategies); and one reflecting improvements in the deployment of different coping strategies according to which ones are most effective in dealing with specific kinds of stressors. Results were used to formulate guidelines for future research on the development of coping.
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This meta-analysis examines the relationship between active coping and psychosocial health among youth. Results from 40 studies of coping with interpersonal stress were synthesized using a random-effects model. Four areas of psychosocial functioning were examined: externalizing and internalizing behavior problems, social competence, and academic performance. The magnitude of the relationship between active coping and psychosocial functioning was small, with correlations ranging from 0.02 for internalizing behavior to 0.12 for academic performance. Mean effects were moderated by stressor controllability: youth who used active coping in response to controllable stressors had fewer externalizing problems and higher social competence, as compared to those who used active coping in response to uncontrollable stressors. Implications for primary prevention programs and directions for future research on child and adolescent coping are discussed.
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Exposure to mass trauma has contributed to increasing concern about the well-being of children, families, and communities. In spite of global awareness of the dramatic impact of mass trauma on youth, little is known about how children and adolescents cope with and adapt to disasters and terrorism. While coping has yet to be fully conceptualized as a unified construct, the process of responding to stress includes recognized cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components. Unfortunately, research on the complex process of adaptation in the aftermath of mass trauma is a relatively recent focus. Further study is needed to build consensus in terminology, theory, methods, and assessment techniques to assist researchers and clinicians in measuring children's coping, both generally and within the context of mass trauma. Advancements are needed in the area of coping assessment to identify internal and external factors affecting children's stress responses. Additionally, enhanced understanding of children's disaster coping can inform the development of prevention and intervention programs to promote resilience in the aftermath of traumatic events. This article examines the theoretical and practical issues in assessing coping in children exposed to mass trauma, and includes recommendations to guide assessment and research of children's coping within this specialized context. Pfefferbaum B, Noffsinger MA, Wind LH. Issues in the assessment of children's coping in the context of mass trauma. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(3):1-8.
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This study examined the main and interactive relations of stressors and coping related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) with Chinese college students' psychological adjustment (psychological symptoms, perceived general health, and life satisfaction) during the 2003 Beijing SARS epidemic. All the constructs were assessed by self-report in an anonymous survey during the final period of the outbreak. Results showed that the relations of stressors and coping to psychological adjustment varied by domain of adjustment. Regression analyses suggested that the number of stressors and use of avoidant coping strategies positively predicted psychological symptoms. Active coping positively predicted life satisfaction when controlling for stressors. Moreover, all types of coping served as a buffer against the negative impact of stressors on perceived general health. These findings hold implications for university counseling services during times of acute, large-scale stressors. In particular, effective screening procedures should be developed to identify students who experience a large number of stressors and thus are at high risk for developing mental health problems. Intervention efforts that target coping should be adapted to take account of the uncontrollability of stressors and clients' cultural preferences for certain coping strategies. A multidimensional battery of psychological adjustment should be used to monitor clients' psychological adjustment to stressors and evaluate the efficacy of intervention.
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Resilience refers to positive adaption in the face of stress or trauma. Assessing resilience is crucial in trauma-related research and practice. The 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) has been demonstrated to be a valid and reliable tool to achieve this goal. This study was designed to examine the psychometric properties of the 10-item CD-RISC in a sample of Chinese earthquake victims. A total of 341 participants (185 women, 156 men) aged 20-63 years were recruited from a psychological relief program supported by the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences following the 'Wenchuan' earthquake. The participants were given the 10-item CD-RISC and the 17-item post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) subscale of the Los Angeles Symptom Checklist (LASC) 4 months after the earthquake. The results of exploratory factor analysis indicated that a single-factor model consistent with the original design of the 10-item CD-RISC was support. The scale was also demonstrated to have good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.91) and test-retest reliability (r = 0.90 for a two-week interval). Scores on the scale could reflect different levels of resilience in populations that are thought to be differentiated (probable PTSD vs healthy controls, t(339) = -7.60, P < 0.01, Cohen's d = 0.84). Moreover, the total resilience scores were significantly negatively correlated with scores on total PTSD scale and its three subscales for all participants. The Chinese version of the 10-item CD-RISC has excellent psychometric properties, and is applicable for Chinese people.
Preprint
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a great impact in our society. Because of its rapid spread, many countries were forced to impose drastic measures (i.e., restrictive lockdowns) to guarantee social distancing and isolation. In some countries, like Spain, these measures were particularly restrictive for children, who were forced to stay at home for more than 40 days, suffering a drastic change in their daily routines. The present study aimed to examine the effects of the Spanish confinement derived from the COVID-19 crisis on children and their families, accounting for child’s age. A range of child negative (e.g., conduct problems) and positive outcomes (e.g., routine maintenance) were examined, along with a set of parent-related variables, including resilience, perceived distress, emotional problems, parenting distress and specific parenting practices (e.g., structured or avoidant parenting), which were modeled through Path Analysis to better understand child adjustment. Data was collected in April 2020, through parent-reports, on a sample of 1,123 Spanish children (50% girls) aged three to 12 (Mage = 7.26; SD = 2.39). Results suggested that, according to parents’ information, most children did not show important changes in behavior, although some increase rates were observed for both negative and positive outcomes. Child adjustment was influenced by a chain of effects, derived from parents’ perceived distress and emotional response to the COVID-19 crisis, via parenting distress and specific parenting practices. While parenting distress particularly triggered child negative outcomes, specific parenting practices were more closely related to child positive outcomes. These findings may help to better inform, for potential future outbreaks, effective guidelines and prevention programs aimed at promoting child’s well-being in the family.
Preprint
Background: The COVID-19 quarantine has affected more than 860 million children and adolescents worldwide but, to date, no study has been developed to examine the psychological impact on their lives. The present study aims to examine for the first time the emotional impact of the quarantine on children and adolescents from Italy and Spain, two of the most affected countries by COVID-19.Methods: 1,143 parents of Italian and Spanish children aged 3 to 18 years completed a survey providing information about how the quarantine affects their children and themselves, compared to before the home confinement. Findings: 85.7% of the parents perceived changes in their children´s emotional state and behaviors during the quarantine. The most frequent symptoms were difficulty concentrating (76.6%), boredom (52%), irritability (39%), restlessness (38.8%), nervousness (38%), feelings of loneliness (31.3%), uneasiness (30.4%), and worries (30.1%), and Spanish parents reported more symptoms than Italians. As expected, children of both countries used monitors more frequently, spent less time doing physical activity, and slept more hours during the quarantine. Furthermore, when family coexistence during quarantine became more difficult, the situation was more serious, and the level of stress was higher, parents tended to report more emotional problems in their children.Interpretation: The quarantine impacts considerably on Italian and Spanish youth, reinforcing the need to detect children with emotional and behavioral problems as early as possible to improve their psychological well-being.
Article
The COVID‐19 pandemic is currently spreading across the world in an unprecedented way. “Social distancing” has become the latest buzzword in the headlines of media covering the COVID‐19 pandemic As a result, the widely implemented social distancing measures has generated one unprecedented shift that pushes various types of human social interactions from dominantly offline to dominantly online. This becomes a “new normal” in our daily life. For our research community of studying technology‐related behavior, the COVID‐19 pandemic provides an unprecedented opportunity to join the worldwide efforts to fight against the current pandemic and Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies calls for studies examining how humans behavior with emerging technologies in extreme events such as the COVID‐19 pandemic.
Article
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.
Article
This paper reports on an innovative Early Years Productive Parenting Program, which is heavily drawn on the coping literature and incorporated learnings on proactive and productive coping for families with young children. The program focused on the delivery of a flexible parenting program offered to a group of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) parents attending a playgroup in an inner urban early childhood setting in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Participants included parents from Sudan, Somalia, Vietnam, New-Zealand and Australia. The research adopted a mixed methods approach with findings indicating that CALD parents benefit from being introduced to universally accepted parenting skills that are sensitive to a range of cultural settings. The study uncovered the efficacy of practical resources, such as Early Years Coping Cards and Parenting Tip Sheets, to support communication between parents and children especially in relation to the establishment of a shared language of coping.
Article
Objectives: The 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC 10) is a brief instrument measuring resilience in adults. The scale has shown sound psychometric properties in different populations and cultures. Our objectives were to cross-culturally adapt the CD-RISC 10 into Danish and to establish the psychometric properties of the Danish version in terms of internal consistency, construct validity and longitudinal validity. Methods: The CD-RISC 10 was translated using established guidelines. Employees ( N=272) at hospitals in the Central Denmark Region completed questionnaires at baseline and three months follow-up. Questionnaires included the translated Danish version of the CD-RISC 10 and the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10). Internal consistency was assessed by Cronbach's alpha and construct and longitudinal validity by correlating CD-RISC 10 and PSS-10 baseline scores and change scores from baseline to follow-up. Results: The Danish CD-RISC 10 provides acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.87). Analysis of construct validity revealed a negative correlation with the PSS-10 at baseline ( r=-.63 [95%CI: -.70; -.55], p<.0001). Analysis of longitudinal validity similarly demonstrated a negative correlation on change scores from baseline to follow-up ( r=-.51 [95%CI: -.62; -.39], p<.0001). Conclusions: The scale has acceptable psychometric properties as an instrument for measuring resilience in a Danish-speaking population.
Chapter
A review of studies examining age differences and age changes in ways of coping across childhood and adolescence reveals two kinds of age-graded patterns. First, there are age increases in children’s general coping capacities, as seen in cognitive and meta-cognitive elaborations of problem-solving (from instrumental action to planful problem-solving), distraction (adding cognitive to behavioral strategies), and support-seeking (from reliance on adults to more self-reliance and reliance on a range of others for different kinds of support). Second, there are improvements with age in the differentiated deployment of specific coping strategies according to which ones are most effective in dealing with particular kinds of stressors. Combining these trends, however, means that children and adolescents may show decreasing use of strategies that they are increasingly capable of deploying, as they become both more self-reliant and more discriminating about which strategies are likely to be effective for dealing with specific kinds of stressors. Taken together, findings suggest age periods during which coping with stress shows both quantitative changes and qualitative shifts. These are the earliest years of life, the years between ages 5 and 7, and the transition to adolescence (about age 10–12). Moreover, some of the most sophisticated coping responses may not fully emerge until late adolescence or early adulthood. Such cumulative findings suggest that future developmental research should focus on these transition points, while measuring all of the coping families or focusing on the organization or flexible deployment of a range of coping strategies.
Chapter
Ways of coping are building blocks in the coping area, describing people’s actual behavioral, emotional, and cognitive actions in response to stress. Hundreds of ways of coping have been studied, but until recently theories and measures did not converge on a comprehensive set of core coping categories. Recent conceptual and empirical analyses have identified approximately a dozen core families, each of which serves multiple functions in dealing with stress. The discovery of how those functions can be achieved through different ways of coping at different developmental levels may allow the identification and study of age-graded ways of coping within a family. Although coping researchers have seemed reluctant to take a stand about which of these families or ways of coping are adaptive and maladaptive, it is possible to make such a determination using multiple criteria, including the current subjective state of the actor, as well as the qualities of the coping itself and its long-term consequences. These criteria converge on labeling six families as generally adaptive (namely, problem-solving, information-seeking, support-seeking, self-comforting, accommodation, and negotiation) and six as generally maladaptive (namely, helplessness, escape, social isolation, delegation, submission, and opposition). At the same time, a developmental perspective cautions against conclusions about whether a specific stressful encounter is “bad” or “good” until after its effects on development are observed. If children and adolescents, with the support of adults, learn from episodes during which they coped “poorly,” such encounters can provide important opportunities to add resources for use in subsequent coping episodes.
Chapter
In this chapter, we explore parenting and family stress as foundations for the differential development of coping during childhood and adolescence, and describe several ways in which adaptive and maladaptive coping contribute to developmental cascades that lead toward resilience or psychopathology. First, we draw on research on parenting and coping to highlight ways in which different styles of parenting can provide alternative frameworks that shape the directions toward which coping will likely grow. Second, we consider parenting as it takes place within the larger family system, exploring the notion that parents’ and children’s coping can be seen as parts of a reciprocal interpersonal coping system, in which parental coping (including coping with the normative demands of parenting) creates both stressors and supports that shape children’s coping, and in which children’s adaptive and maladaptive coping, in turn, generates stressors and supports for parent’s subsequent coping. The chapter ends with a discussion of three ways in which adaptive and maladaptive coping participate in the creation of developmental cascades that eventuate in well-being and resilience or in maladjustment and psychopathology: They are important markers that comprise early warning signs of emerging strengths and vulnerabilities; they show their own recursive internal dynamics that sustain or amplify resilience and risk; and they represent a significant player, or “active ingredient” in propelling upward or downward movement, by directly influencing subsequent next steps in developmental cascades.
Article
Behavioral health professional organizations are in the unique role of aggregating and disseminating information to their membership before, during, and after health-related disasters to promote the integration of behavioral health services into the public health disaster response plan. This article provides a set of 5 principles to direct this undertaking that are based on the current literature and previous evaluation of the online guidance provided by 6 prominent behavioral health professional organizations. These principles use a strengths-based approach to prioritize resilience; underscore the importance of context, collaboration, and coordination; recognize the unique needs of pediatric populations; and guide ongoing training and content development in the area of biopsychosocial responses to health-related disasters. Recognizing important innovations and strides made by the behavioral health organizations noted in a previous study, this article recommends additional areas in which behavioral health professional organizations can contribute to overall pandemic disaster preparedness and response efforts. ( Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness . 2015;0:1-8)
Article
Research Findings: It is clear that disasters negatively affect both adults and children. Yet there is little research examining the mechanisms whereby some people are negatively affected by disasters whereas others are resilient to these negative effects. Family functioning and child characteristics might be factors that influence the impact of disasters on young children. We tested this premise in a sample of 118 children living in an area affected by a Category 3 hurricane, with 47 of these children participating before and after the hurricane. Results indicated that disaster experiences and emotion regulation are predictors of adjustment following natural disasters. Findings also suggested that the effects of disaster experiences on children’s adjustment are sometimes indirect through their impact on parental depression and parent hostility. Practice or Policy: These findings indicate that working to minimize the likelihood of parent-child separations during disasters could reduce the negative effects of disasters on children. In addition, promoting better emotional regulatory abilities in young children may help them to be more resilient when experiencing natural disasters, and providing parents with the support they need to more effectively parent may also decrease the likelihood that children will experience adjustment difficulties following disasters.
Article
Health disparities are rooted in childhood and stem from adverse early environments that damage physiologic stress-response systems. Developmental psychobiological models of the effects of chronic stress account for both the negative effects of a stress-response system calibrated to a dangerous and unpredictable environment from a health perspective, and the positive effects of such an adaptively calibrated stress response from a functional perspective. Our research suggests that the contexts that produce functionally adapted physiologic responses to stress also encourage a functionally adapted coping response—coping that can result in maladjustment in physical and mental health, but enables children to grow and develop within those contexts. In this article, I highlight the value of reframing maladaptive coping as functional adaptation to understand more completely the development of children's coping in different contexts, and the value of such a conceptual shift for coping-based theory, research, and intervention.
Article
Recently the Department of Community Services in New South Wales and the Department for Child Safety in Queensland have both released information about funding and the award of contracts for group homes and other residential services. In addition, in the 2008 discussion about out-of-home care at the Wood Commission of Inquiry into the Child Protection Services in New South Wales, group homes were discussed in terms of them being less demanding environments than foster care. The view presented was that group homes are appropriate for some young people who are either unsuitable for foster care or who want a less intimate setting than that provided by foster care. This article argues that group homes or residential programs, against the New South Wales and Queensland descriptions, fail to respond to the need for quality residential programs for children and youth. This is partly due to the low level of training for staff in group homes and high staff turnover.
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The primary aim of this study was to describe how preschoolers (4–5 years old, N = 94) cope with stress based on parent ratings on the Children's Coping Scale Revised. A second aim was to investigate how coping in preschoolers may be associated with the anxiety level of the child and controllability of the stressor, as measured by parent ratings on the Spence Preschool Anxiety Scale and children's coping in two different situations of varying controllability. Three distinct dimensions of coping were identified—positive coping, negative coping–emotional expression, and negative coping–emotional inhibition. As predicted, preschoolers rated higher on anxiety were more likely to engage in negative forms of coping while less anxious preschoolers were more likely to engage in a positive form of coping. This suggests an early pattern of maladaptive coping among more anxious children. Contrary to adult and adolescent models, preschoolers in general were more likely to use negative coping in a more controllable situation and to use positive coping in a less controllable situation. Possible explanations for these findings and suggestions for future research are proposed.
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Research divides and reports negative associations between negative (pathogenic; e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder; PTSD) and positive (salutogenic; e.g., posttraumatic growth, resilience) psychological responses to trauma. This study elaborates prior research by casting resilience as a trait rather than state. Participants with varied exposure levels (n = 500) completed measures of resilience, trauma history, PTSD, and posttraumatic growth. Results of structural equation modeling with LISREL showed that trauma increased PTSD and growth levels, whereas resilience was associated positively with growth and negatively with PTSD. It is concluded that salutogenic and pathological responses to trauma show differential associations with trait resilience.
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Despite the growing literature on how parenting predicts children's adjustment to potentially stressful events, little is know about the specific mechanisms through which these effects operate. This review identifies some possible paths of parental influence by specifying ways that parents may influence each step of the coping process-from exposure to the potentially stressful event to event appraisal to child coping. Current stress and coping research is reviewed from this perspective, and directions for future research are outlined.
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This article advocates for a new focus in the area parenting science; namely, how parents help their children cope with and recover from events and conditions that threaten serious disruption to normal, healthy development. These events and conditions, organized under the rubric of developmentally challenging circumstances (DCCs), include events such as war, natural disasters, parental suicide and sexual abuse, serious personal loss that may come with the death of a family member, highly destabilizing interpersonal circumstances such as can occur when family members have serious mental health and substance abuse problems or when children witness interparental violence, and highly destabilizing social or physical circumstances, which can occur as a result of divorce, homelessness, or parental incarceration. These circumstances are at the upper end of conditions that cause stress; they are of a kind that create high levels of emotional distress and threaten long-term maladaptive reorganization of personality. The article offers a broad framework, organized around the major tasks of parenting, for systematic and integrative inquiry on what parents do to assist their children in managing DCCs and moving toward recovery. It also argues for research on the effects of these efforts.
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When confronted with stress, adults tend to respond with primary control coping (trying to change the stressful circumstances), secondary control coping (trying to adjust to circumstances as they are), or relinquished control (trying neither to change circumstances nor to adjust to them). Applying this notion to children, we asked 6-, 9-, and 12-year-olds to recall stressful episodes involving six different situations (e.g., separation, medical stress, school failure) and to describe how they responded in each instance. Responses were coded as primary or secondary coping or as relinquished control. The responses indicated reports of active coping; only 3.5% of all descriptions involved relinquished control. Styles of coping, however, differed across situations, with school failure evoking high levels of primary coping and medical stress, high levels of secondary coping. Styles also differed with age: As age increased, self-reports of primary coping declined and of secondary coping increased, particularly in stressful medical circumstances. Overall, the results suggest that elementary-school children report that they cope with everyday stress and that their coping approaches are influenced by situational constraints and cognitive development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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83 8–11 yr olds completed the Conflict Tactics Scale—Form N, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Revised (WISC—R) Information and Block Design subtests, Children's Marital Conflict Coping Strategies Interview, and measures of self-perception, depression, trait anxiety, and hostility. Ss' parents completed measures of Ss' hostility and internalizing and externalizing behavior problems and Ss' life events. Ss' use of coping strategies involving them in marital conflict predicted maladjustment; use of coping strategies that distance Ss' from marital conflict predicted Ss' reports of less maladjustment. Use of coping strategies that activate social support predicted mother reports of less child maladjustment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Identifying correlates of children's emotional reactions and coping can provide information about developmental processes and identify useful strategies for improving children's adaptation to stress. We investigated associations of social competence with children's responses to standardised, controllable interpersonal stressors. The stressors included bullying, arguing with a parent, and not being picked for a team sport. We expected greater competence to be associated with certain coping responses, and expected that coping would be better explained by also considering emotional reactions. Children (N = 230, Grades 3 to 7) reacted to three videotaped stressors, and children and parents completed questionnaires. Children rated as more competent used active and challenge coping strategies, such as problem solving and support seeking, more than other children, and they also responded with more sadness. Children's competence was associated with fear, but only in bivariate correlations, and was not associated with angry responses. In a structural equation model, emotions were associated with more coping responses, and the emotional reaction of sadness accounted for the link between children's social competence and adaptive (i.e., challenge) coping. Findings suggest that competent children use more adaptive coping, and this is accounted for by their greater feelings of sadness when dealing with controllable interpersonal stressors.
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This article discusses developmental changes in perceptions of control, the relationship between perceived control and strategies used by children to cope with stress, and the interaction between perceived control and coping in their association with psychological adjustment and disorder. Developmental research on children's perceptions of control has identified both changes and consistencies in contingency, competence, and control beliefs during childhood and early adolescence. Developmental changes in coping have also been documented, with problem-focused skills emerging during childhood, and more rapid development of emotion-focused coping skills during later childhood and early adolescence. Studies have shown that perceptions of control are related to the ways that children and adolescents cope with stress. The implications of this research for interventions aimed at enhancing children's problem-solving and coping skills are discussed.
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ABSTRACT Dispositional and situational measures of children's coping were developed using a theoretically based approach. Two studies (N1 = 217; N2 = 303) assessed the psychometric characteristics of these measures in fourth- through sixth-grade children. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a four-factor model of dispositional coping (active, distraction, avoidant, and support seeking) provided a better fit to the data than either the problemversus emotion-focused (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) or passive versus active (Billings & Moos, 1981) coping models. The four-factor model was largely invariant with respect to age and gender. Moderate to high correlations were found between the parallel subscales of the dispositional and situational measures of coping. Although the four factor structures of the dispositional and situational measures were generally similar, factor loadings and correlations between dimensions were not equivalent.
Article
The present study was designed to evaluate the bidirectional relationships between parenting stress and child coping competence. Data from a diverse sample of 610 parents enrolled in the parenting our children to excellence program was used to evaluate whether parenting stress negatively contributes to affective, achievement, and social coping competence in preschoolers, as well as whether child coping competence predicts parenting stress; after accounting for child disruptive behavior. Results from cross-lagged panel analyses demonstrated a bidirectional relationship, such that parenting stress predicted later child coping competence and child coping competence predicted later parenting stress. Assessment of ethnicity differences indicated that child coping continues to have a long-term impact on parenting stress, regardless of parent ethnicity. The same relationship did not hold for earlier parenting stress on later child coping competence, however, indicating a bidirectional relationship for African American families, but not for their European American counterparts. The relationship between parenting stress and child coping competence is discussed with respect to their conceptual and clinical implications. Suggestions for parent training intervention and prevention programs are given. KeywordsParenting stress–Child coping–Cross-lag–Longitudinal–Ethnicity differences
Article
Resilience has been conceptualized as a dynamic developmental process encompassing the attainment of positive adaptation within the context of significant threat, severe adversity, or trauma. Until the past decade, the empirical study of resilience predominantly focused on behavioral and psychosocial correlates of, and contributors to, the phenomenon and did not examine neurobiological or genetic correlates of and contributors to resilience. Technological advances in molecular genetics and neuroimaging, and in measuring other biological aspects of behavior, have made it more feasible to begin to conduct research on pathways to resilient functioning from a multilevel perspective. Child maltreatment constitutes a profound immersion in severe stress that challenges and frequently impairs development across diverse domains of biological and psychological functioning. Research on the determinants of resilience in maltreated children is presented as an illustration of empirical work that is moving from single-level to multilevel investigations of competent functioning in the face of adversity and trauma. These include studies of personality, neural, neuroendocrine, and molecular genetic contributors to resilient adaptation. Analogous to neural plasticity that takes place in response to brain injury, it is conjectured that it may be possible to conceptualize resilience as the ability of individuals to recover functioning after exposure to extreme stress. Multilevel randomized control prevention and intervention trials have substantial potential for facilitating the promotion of resilient functioning in diverse high-risk populations that have experienced significant adversity. Determining the multiple levels at which change is engendered through randomized control trials will provide insight into the mechanisms of change, the extent to which neural plasticity may be promoted, and the interrelations between biological and psychological processes in the development of maladaptation, psychopathology, and resilience.
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The purpose of this article is to address how those caring for children during an influenza pandemic can best respond to their psychosocial needs. Throughout 2009, the United States grappled with an influenza pandemic, including how to care for children during outbreak of illness. As disease spread, children were identified as being highly susceptible to infection. It is not known how severe future influenza outbreaks will be. Pediatric healthcare professionals must be prepared to collaboratively address the psychosocial needs of children before, during, and after a pandemic in order to avoid fear and panic.
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Children, as major stakeholders in paediatric hospitals, have remained absent from discussions on important healthcare issues. One critical area where children's voices have been minimised is in the planning for future pandemics. This paper presents a subset of data from a programme of research which examined various stakeholder experiences of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreaks of 2003. These data also generated recommendations for future pandemic planning. Specifically, this paper will examine the perspectives and recommendations of children hospitalised during SARS in a large paediatric hospital in Canada. Twenty-one (n = 21) child and adolescent participants were interviewed from a variety of medical areas including cardiac (n = 2), critical care (n = 2), organ transplant (n = 4), respiratory medicine (n = 8) and infectious diseases (patients diagnosed with suspected or probable SARS; n = 5). Data analyses exposed a range of children's experiences associated with the outbreaks as well as recommendations for future pandemic planning. Key recommendations included specific policies and guidelines concerning psychosocial care, infection control, communication strategies and the management of various resources. This paper is guided by a conceptual framework comprised of theories from child development and literature on children's rights. The authors call for greater youth participation in healthcare decision-making and pandemic planning.