ArticlePDF Available

COVID-19 Employment Status, Dyadic Family Relationships, and Child Psychological Well-Being



Purpose: COVID-19 has led to soaring unemployment rates and the widespread adoption of working-from-home (WFH) arrangements that have disrupted family relationships and adolescent psychological well-being. This longitudinal study investigated how parental employment status (i.e., job loss and WFH) influenced adolescents' daily affect indirectly through family functioning (i.e., parent-adolescent conflict and parental warmth) and whether these links varied by family's socioeconomic status. Methods: Daily-diary approaches were used to collect dyadic parent-adolescent data from a nationwide American sample (6,524 daily assessments from 447 parent-adolescent dyads; 45% black, 36% white, 10% Latinx, 7% Asian American, 2% Native American) over the course of 15 consecutive days at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: Parents who experienced job loss demonstrated increases in parent-child conflict, which in turn predicted decreases in child positive affect and increases in child negative affect. Furthermore, parents' WFH status predicted increases in parental warmth, which in turn predicted increases in child positive affect and decreases in child negative affect. Parents of low-income families were more likely to experience job loss (24% vs. 13%) and less likely to WFH (44% vs. 73%) than middle-high income parents. Conclusions: Adolescents from families facing economic hardship and employment shifts during COVID-19 experienced changes in parent-child relational dynamics that influenced their emotional well-being. Recognizing these shifts in family ecology is critical to health providers' ability to screen for mental health, assess existing family supports, and provide timely, targeted information about stress management and contending with family conflict.
Original article
COVID-19 Employment Status, Dyadic Family Relationships, and
Child Psychological Well-Being
Ming-Te Wang, Ed.D.
, Daphne A. Henry, Ph.D.
, Juan Del Toro, Ph.D.
Christina L. Scanlon, Ph.D.
, and Jacqueline D. Schall, M.S.
Learning Research & Development Center, Department of Psychology, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Department of Counseling, Developmental & Educational Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Article history: Received March 24, 2021; Accepted July 14, 2021
Keywords: COVID-19; Employment status; Family relationship; Psychological well-being; Socioeconomic status
Purpose: COVID-19 has led to soaring unemployment rates and the widespread adoption of
working-from-home (WFH) arrangements that have disrupted family relationships and adolescent
psychological well-being. This longitudinal study investigated how parental employment status
(i.e., job loss and WFH) inuenced adolescentsdaily affect indirectly through family functioning
(i.e., parent-adolescent conict and parental warmth) and whether these links varied by familys
socioeconomic status.
Methods: Daily-diary approaches were used to collect dyadic parent-adolescent data from a
nationwide American sample (6,524 daily assessments from 447 parent-adolescent dyads; 45%
black, 36% white, 10% Latinx, 7% Asian American, 2% Native American) over the course of 15
consecutive days at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results: Parents who experienced job loss demonstrated increases in parent-child conict, which
in turn predicted decreases in child positive affect and increases in child negative affect.
Furthermore, parentsWFH status predicted increases in parental warmth, which in turn predicted
increases in child positive affect and decreases in child negative affect. Parents of low-income
families were more likely to experience job loss (24% vs. 13%) and less likely to WFH (44% vs.
73%) than middle-high income parents.
Conclusions: Adolescents from families facing economic hardship and employment shifts during
COVID-19 experienced changes in parent-child relational dynamics that inuenced their emotional
well-being. Recognizing these shifts in family ecology is critical to health providersability to
screen for mental health, assess existing family supports, and provide timely, targeted information
about stress management and contending with family conict.
Ó2021 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.
COVID-19 has upended
the economic landscape
in the United States
through widespread job
loss and rapid transitions
to working from home.
These results suggest that
working-from-home ar-
rangements help parents
foster warm relationships
with their children that in
turn reduce negative
affect and promote posi-
tive affect.
This work was supported by Spencer Foundation (#201600067).
Conicts of interest: The authors have no conicts of interest to disclose.
Data availability statement/Data deposition: The data sets generated and/or
analyzed during the present study are not publicly available, but they are
available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Contributors statement: Wangconceptualized and designedthe study,drafted the
introduction, method, and result sections, and reviewed/revised the manuscript.
Henry drafted the discussionsection and reviewed/revised the manuscript. Del Toro
conducted data analysis and critically reviewed the manuscript for important
intellectual content. Scanlon and Schall coordinated and supervised data collection
instruments, collected data, drafted the literature review, and reviewed/revised the
manuscript. All authors approvedthe nal manuscriptas submitted and agree to be
accountable for all aspects of the work.
*Address correspondence to: Ming-Te Wang, Ed.D., University of Pittsburgh,
5948 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 South Bouquet St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260.
E-mail address: (M.-T. Wang).
These authors contributed equally and share the last authorship.
1054-139X/Ó2021 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.
Journal of Adolescent Health xxx (2021) 1e8
COVID-19 has resulted in shifts in parental employment that
have negatively impacted family relationships [1] and individual
psychological well-being [2], especially for those contending with
poverty or economic uncertainty [3,4]. While many American
parents have experienced job loss during COVID-19, others have
shifted to temporary work-from-home (WFH) arrangements.
Researchers have examined predictors and implications of these
employment changes [5]; however, it remains unclear whether
and how parent-adolescent relationships have been impacted by
job loss and WFH during the pandemic. Furthermore, we do not
understand how these relationships may inuence adolescents
psychological well-being under circumstances where youth are
facing unprecedented and unforeseen threats to their mental
health [6]. As such, this longitudinal study examines the relation
between COVID-19 employment status, family relationships, and
adolescent affect.
To build on existing work addressing family ecological
vulnerabilities [7], we dene resilience as the capacity of a
dynamic system to adapt successfully to disturbances that
threaten system function, viability, or development[8]. We assert
that pandemic-related changes in parentsemployment status
shape family inter-relations that in turn inuence individual
family memberspsychological resilience and well-being. Specif-
ically, we hypothesized that job loss and WFH status inuence
parent-child relationships, including parent-adolescent conict
and parental warmth. In turn, we expected these changes in family
relationshipstobelinkedtochildrens daily affect.
COVID-19 has upended the economic landscape in the United
States through widespread job loss and rapid transitions to WFH
arrangements. WFH requires parents to simultaneously be a
productive employee, dedicated parent, and, in the case that
their children participate in virtual learning, teachers assistant.
Changes to COVID-19 employment circumstances have also
occurred in conjunction with social disruption as a result of
public health measures. Accordingly, job loss and changing work
schedules may stress family routines and put signicant strain on
family relationships [2,4,9]. During these times of unrest, parents
are more likely to exhibit low warmth and experience height-
ened conict with their children [1,10]. Such contentious parent-
child relationships place adolescents at risk for elevated negative
affect [11], whereas parental warmth may buffer against negative
affect while also promoting positive affect [12].
While the extant literature is clear on the consequences of job
loss on family stress, less is known about sudden shifts to WFH
arrangements. Although remote schooling, shifting household
demands, and elevated concerns over childrensadjustmentmay
have increased parenting responsibilities and put pressure on
WFH parents [1,4,5], WFH may have also offered the opportunity
for increased parental warmth through expanded family time and
reduced work-family conict [13,14]. In fact, the increased exi-
bility of WFH arrangements has been associated with improved
work-family balance [13 ] and increases in available time to spend
with family [14]. Few studies, however, have examined the direct
effects of job loss and WFH on parental warmth. In sum, parental
employment status during the pandemic is of critical import
owing to consequences for family interpersonal dynamics and
adolescentspsychological well-being [2,4,7].
The impact of parental employment status on parent-
adolescent relationships and adolescentspsychological well-
being may vary by the familys socioeconomic status [7]. Family
economic stability has been shown to buffer the negative impact
of job loss on family relationships [3], and parents who WFH may
have more resources to mitigate family stress caused by COVID-
19 [13]. Low-income families, unfortunately, may suffer the most
pervasive nancial consequences of shelter-in-place policies, as
wage-earners in these families tend to work jobs that are not
amenable to WFH (e.g., essential workers) [3]. Owing to demands
on time and limited resources, low-income parents are more
likely to experience parent-child conict and may also struggle
to maintain warm, supportive relationships with their children
[10]. Combined, economic vulnerabilities may place low-income
families at a greater risk for household contention and
maladaptive adjustment. However, studies have shown that the
presence of conict does not necessarily imply the absence of
warmth. Even in circumstances of poverty, parental warmth has
been shown to mitigate the negative impact of economic strain
on youth well-being [15]; ergo, it is critical to understand how
job loss and WFH impact family relationships across different
socioeconomic backgrounds and how those family relationships
in turn impact adolescent well-being.
The present study
To understand whether and how parental employment status
has affected parent-child relationships and adolescentsemotional
well-being during the pandemic, we used dyadic parent-
adolescent daily-diary data with 9,372 assessments to examine
the mediating role of family relationships (i.e., parent-adolescent
conict and parental warmth) in the link between employment
status (i.e., job loss, WFH) and adolescentsemotional well-being
(i.e., positive and negative affect). We also investigated whether
the link between employment status, family relationships, and
adolescentsaffect varied by familieseconomic circumstances.
Daily-diary approaches provide a rich perspective into partici-
pantsreal-time daily experiences and behaviors, thereby mini-
mizing systematic recall bias and permitting in-depth analysis of
within-person processes over time [16].
Because extant literature has suggested that the stress of
COVID-19 employment status is expected to increase conict
between family members, we hypothesized that job loss would
be associated with increased family conict, which in turn would
predict decreased positive affect and increased negative affect in
adolescents. Conversely, there may be decreased warmth within
the family as it convalesces and adapts to new ecological cir-
cumstances. Owing to a dearth in literature surrounding this
topic, we propose no specic hypotheses regarding the relations
between WFH and parental warmth aside from expecting
warmth to be associated with increased positive and decreased
negative affect of adolescents.
Participants included 447 parent-child dyads from an ongoing
nationwide longitudinal study examining school experiences,
family dynamics, and adolescent well-being in the United States.
The original study worked with a research company to recruit a
national sample of parents and adolescents (i.e., middle- and
high-school-aged) by using a representative, random sampling
method. When COVID-19 was declared a national emergency in
the United States in March 2020, the original longitudinal study
M.-T. Wang et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health xxx (2021) 1e82
was leveraged by inviting a subsample of parent (i.e., primary
caregiver) and adolescent participants to engage in a 15-day
daily-diary study focusing on family functioning and adjust-
ment during the pandemic. Because of the prevalence and
saliency of unemployment rates and adoption of WFH arrange-
ments in states with stay-at-home orders, participation required
residence in a state where stay-at-home orders mandated
schools and nonessential businesses to close.
Approximately 79% of the qualied participants from the
original study agreed to partake in the daily-diary study. The nal
sample included 447 parents and their adolescent children from
38 states (parent/primary caregiver sample: M
¼43.7, range ¼
27e52 years; child sample: M
¼15.0; range ¼12e18 years;
see Table 1 for demographic information). This subsample did
not differ from the original sample regarding sociodemographic
characteristics or psychological adjustment, but there were some
geographic differences. The subsample had slightly more par-
ticipants from the Northeast and South regions (vs. West and
Midwest) as compared with the original study sample (see
Table 1). The higher number of participants from Northeast and
South regions was attributed to the fact that these states
implemented stay-at-home orders at the time of the study.
All consented parents and children rst completed baseline
and demographic measures one week before the daily survey
period. Both parents and children then completed daily survey
assessments between 5:00
. and 12:00
. using Internet-
capable devices across 15 consecutive days from May 18 to
June 1, 2020. Participants received two to four email or SMS re-
minders each day to complete the daily survey. Research staff
contacted any participants who missed a diary entry to trou-
bleshoot any issues with accessing the survey. Participants
received $40 for completing the baseline survey and daily-diary
entries. All materials and procedures were approved by the au-
thorsuniversity institutional review board.
Parental employment status. We measured job loss and WFH as
two indicators of employment status during COVID-19. All parent
respondents were employed before COVID-19. Parents were
asked whether they had lost their job since the COVID-19
outbreak (0 ¼no,1¼yes). Parents who remained employed
were asked whether they worked from home during the COVID-
19 outbreak (0 ¼no,1¼yes). None of the parent respondents
worked from home before the pandemic. Those with another
adult in the household were asked to report on that adults
employment status as well.
Daily child affect. Adolescentspositive and negative affect were
measured daily using the Positive and Negative Affect Scale for
Children, a well-validated psychological scale [17]. We assessed
positive affect with four items (i.e., grateful, energetic, happy,
hopeful) and negative affect with seven items (i.e., sad, anxious,
depressed, hopeless, nervous, lonely, scared). Participants
reported their mood during the past 24 hours on a 5-point scale
ranging from 1 (not at all)to5(extremely). To generate appro-
priate reliability to detect change [18], items were averaged to
form daily composite scores of positive (R
¼.70) and negative
affect (R
Daily family relationship. For both parents and children, family
dynamics and functioning were measured on a 5-point Likert
scale using the Network of Relationship Inventory, a well-
validated and widely-used scale (1 ¼not at all,5¼a lot)[19].
We focused on parent and child reports of parent-child conict (4
items; e.g., Today, I experienced conict or tension with my child/
parent; I was yelled at by my parent) as well as parent and child
reports of parental warmth (4 items; e.g., Today, I did something
fun or relaxing with my child/parent; I felt supported by my parent).
Given that the correlations between child and parent reports
ranged from moderate to high, a mean composite score for each
dimension was calculated by summing the item scores of parent
and child reports and dividing the total by the number of items
(Parent-child conict: R
¼.87; parental warmth: R
Family Socioeconomic Status. An income-to-needs ratio was
calculated by dividing the familys total income by the federal
poverty threshold adjusted for family size. This ratio estimates
family income in a widely-used, valid, and reliable metric that
uses poverty as its critical referent [20,21]. To designate low- and
middle-high income families, an indicator was set to one if the
income-to-needs ratio was less than 2.0 (i.e., designating low-
income families) and was set to 0 if the ratio was equal to or
greater than 2.0 (i.e., designating middle-higheincome families).
Covariates. Because of their associations with family relation-
ships and well-being, we accounted for several covariates. We
included the numerical day of reporting (1e15), weekend (0 ¼
weekday,1¼weekend), and parent daily psychological distress
(item from parent report using the Psychological Distress Scale;
e.g., I feel stressed out today) as time-level covariates. Six person-
level covariates were also collected from child or parent reports:
(1) child age, (2) child sex (0 ¼girls,1¼boys), (3) child race, (4)
parent race, (5) parent role (0 ¼mothers,1¼fathers), and (6)
prepandemic parent-child relationship (2 items from parent
report using the Network of Relationship Inventory; e.g., Overall I
get along with my kid).
Analytic plan
This study examined whether family relational dynamics
mediate the association between parental employment status
Table 1
Demographic information for children and parent participants
Child participant Parent participant
Mean (SD) 15.09 (1.66) 43.66 (6.86)
Range 13e18 27e52
% Males 39.1 13.0
% Black/African American 44.8 46.1
% White/European American 35.6 38.7
% Latinx 9.8 8.5
% Asian/Asian American 7.4 6.3
% Native American 2.4 0.4
Family socioeconomic status
% Low income 62.0 62.0
Region in the United States
% Northeast 58.0 58.0
% South 24.6 24.6
% Midwest 10.3 10.3
% West 7.1 7.1
M.-T. Wang et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health xxx (2021) 1e83
and child daily affect using longitudinal multilevel modeling in
Mplus with daily observations (level 1) nested within partici-
pants (level 2). The outcomes of interest were childrens positive
and negative affect at level 1. The mediators were parent-child
conict and parental warmth at level 1. The key predictors
were job loss and WFH at level 2. We rst tested main and
mediation effects and then investigated whether these effects
varied by family socioeconomic status (SES). For the mediation
analysis, we used the Model Constraintcommand to estimate
indirect effects (i.e., a*b) using main effects for a(i.e., inde-
pendent variable /mediator) and b(i.e., mediator /
dependent variable) paths. For our moderation analysis, we
performed multigroup chi-square test comparisons to examine
whether we could constrain the paths for each SES groups model
to be equivalent without causing a signicant decrement in
model t. All level 1 predictors were person-mean centered. All
analyses were controlled for level 1 and 2 covariates. The intra-
class correlation of the outcome variables justied the use of a
multilevel modeling approach, as 60%e70% of each outcomes
variance was at the person level relative to the 30%e40% at the
daily level.
Missing data
The amount of missing data at both the daily and person
levels was relatively low. Of the possible 6,705 daily-diary as-
sessments (15 days, 447 children and parents), there was only
6.6% (n¼441) and 5.2% (n¼350) missing data at the daily level
for children and parents, respectively. There were varying levels
of missing data at the family level: 100% of families (i.e., both
parent and child) completed the baseline and demographic
surveys; 62% of children and 72% of parents did not miss any
daily-diary entries; 28% of children and 21% of parents missed
one or two daily entries; and 6% of children and 4% of parents
missed 3e4 daily entries. On average, both children and parents
each completed 14 of 15 daily-diary entries.
Littles missing completely at random test suggested that the
data were missing completely at random,
(20) ¼31.10, p¼ns.
An examination of missing data patterns indicated that adoles-
cents or parents with complete data did not differ from those
with missing data on key constructs or demographic character-
istics. To retain all participants in analyses, we accounted for
missing data through full-information maximum likelihood
Table 2 presents means, standard deviations, and correlations
among all study constructs. Table 3 presents the mean differ-
ences by family socioeconomic status. Notably, parents of low-
income families were more likely to experience job loss (24%
vs. 13%) and less likely to WFH (44% vs. 73%) than middle-high
income parents during COVID-19. In addition, low-income fam-
ilies tended to experience more parent-child conict and less
parental warmth than middle-high income families.
Direct effect of employment status on family relationship
As shown in Table 4, parental job loss predicted increases in
parent-child conict (B¼.15, SE ¼.07, p<.05, 95% condence
interval [CI] [.01, .29], ES ¼.12). In addition, WFH predicted
increases in parental warmth (B¼.23, SE ¼.08, p<.01, 95% CI
[.07, .38], ES ¼.15).
Direct effect of family relationship on child affect
Parent-child conict predicted increases in childrens nega-
tive affect (B¼.14, SE ¼.02, p<.001, 95% CI [.09, .18], ES ¼.14)
and decreases in childrens positive affect (B¼.16, SE ¼.02,
p<.001, 95% CI [.20, .11], ES ¼.11; see Table 4). Moreover,
parental warmth predicted increases in positive affect (B¼.15,
SE ¼.02, p<.001, 95% CI [.11, .18], ES ¼.17) and decreases in
negative affect for children (B¼.04, SE ¼.01, p<.001, 95% CI
[.06, .02], ES ¼.07).
Mediation effect of family relationship on the link between
employment status and child affect
As shown in Table 5, parents who experienced job loss
demonstrated increases in parent-child conict, which in turn
predicted decreases in child positive affect (indirect effect:
B¼.02, SE ¼.01, p<.05, 95% CI [.04, .01]) and increases in
child negative affect (indirect effect: B¼.02, SE ¼.01, p<.05, 95%
CI [.01, .5]). Furthermore, parentsWFH status predicted in-
creases in parental warmth, which in turn predicted increases in
child positive affect (indirect effect: B¼.04, SE ¼.01, p<.01, 95%
CI [.01, .07]) and decreases in child negative affect (indirect effect:
B¼.01, SE ¼.00, p<.05, 95% CI [.02, .01]). The model t the
data well,
(6) ¼80.93, p<.001, RMSEA ¼.05, CFI ¼.93,
¼.01, SRMR
Moderation effect of socioeconomic status differences
Although the means of our key constructs varied by family
SES, family SES did not moderate the links between these con-
(12) ¼8.82, p¼ns.
COVID-19 precipitated unparalleled social and economic
disruptions in family life, exacting an especially heavy toll on
low-income families [3]. Because of soaring unemployment rates
and rapid, widespread transitions to WFH arrangements, it is
imperative to understand how parentsemployment status
during the pandemic has inuenced family relationships and
childrens emotional well-being. Using 15 consecutive days of
dyadic parent-adolescent data, we found that parental
employment changes (i.e., job loss and WFH) inuenced family
relationships (i.e., parent-adolescent conict and parental
warmth), and family relationships were connected to adoles-
centsdaily positive and negative affect. Family relationships also
mediated longitudinal links between parentsemployment sta-
tus and daily affect among adolescents. These ndings not only
highlight family factors shaping adolescentsaffective states but
they also reveal psychosocial consequences of parental job loss
and WFH arrangements during COVID-19.
Our results suggest that family stress processes may underlie
associations between parental job loss and curtailed family
functioning. Indeed, numerous studies have indicated that
heightened economic pressure incites parental distress that fo-
ments harsh parenting and increased antagonism between par-
ents and children [9,22,23]. For example, recent work has
indicated that parents who experience COVID-related job losses
M.-T. Wang et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health xxx (2021) 1e84
were nearly ve times more likely to psychologically abuse their
children [24]. Family economic stress related to job loss also
imperils the family system by stimulating coercive family
relations [25,26].
Unlike job loss, we found that WFH was connected to
increased parental warmth. It is likely that WFH helped parents
to minimize COVID-19 infection risks and supervise children
themselves during school closures, thereby alleviating the
stress of grappling with alternative childcare arrangements or
being unable to monitor children during remote schooling.
Additional protective factors related to WFH (e.g., nancial
stability, job security, professional autonomy, schedule exi-
bility) may have buffered parents against psychological distress
and allowed them to avoid decompensating parenting behav-
iors [27,28]. Some parents have even reported nding
emotional respite in spending more time with their children
during the pandemic [29]. Despite the stress of integrating
family and professional life resultant from unexpected transi-
tions to WFH, such working arrangements may confer
protection and contribute to family resiliency via the opportu-
nity for increased warmth and togetherness.
Consistent links between family relationships and adoles-
centsemotional well-being also emerged in our analyses. Family
systems research emphasizes the importance of nurturing and
supportive parenting for youths affective states [30,31]. Parent-
adolescent conict has been shown to decrease adolescentsuse
of parental social supports in times of crisis, ultimately deterio-
rating relationship quality and posing negative consequences for
adolescents emotional well-being [25,32]. High, stable parental
warmth may therefore act as an efcacious protective factor
against negative affect and distress arising from family stressors
(e.g., parental job loss) [1,33].
Although family economic status did not moderate the direct
effects of parental employment status or the mediation effects of
family relationships on adolescent affect, our ndings nonethe-
less have major implications for economically disadvantaged
families. In our sample, low-income families were 67% less likely
to enter WFH arrangements and twice as likely to experience job
Table 2
Descriptive statistics and zero-order bivariate correlations among key constructs
Variable 1234567Mean (S.D.)
1 Day 1 8.00 (4.32)
2 Weekend .28** 1 .26 (.44)
3 Child positive affect .03*.01 1 3.24 (1.05)
4 Child negative affect .04** .01 .18** 1 1.56 (.75)
5 Parent-child conict .08** .03** .06*.37** 1 1.36 (.61)
6 Parental warmth .05*.05** .53** .15** .04** 1 2.97 (1.04)
7 Parent psychological distress .03*.03*.13** .32** .23** .09** 1 1.49 (.65)
Between-Person 1234567891011
1 Low-income family 1 .62
2 Parent lost job .10** 1 .20
3 Parent work from home .34** .32** 1 .58
4 Childs age .12** .10** .10** 1 15.09 (1.66)
5 Male child versus female child .01 .09** .02 .18** 1 .39
6 Black child versus white child .34** .02 .16** .14** .03*1 .45
7 Other race child versus white child .06** .09** .11** .04** .09** .47** 1 .22
8 Father versus mother .04** .08** .04** .10** .02 .08** .12** 1 .13
9 Black parent versus white parent .36** .01 .18** .13** .03** .89** .32** .02 1 .46
10 Other race parent versus White parent .09** .09** .11** .05** .07** .33** .70** .04** .42** 1 .17
11 Prior parent-child relationship .06** .03*.09** .10** .07** .14** .07** .01 .12** .09** 1 4.22 (.91)
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.
Table 3
Mean group differences by family income
Key variable Low-income household
62% of analytic sample
Middle-high income household
38% of analytic sample
Independent samples t-tests/
test comparisons
Child positive affect 3.24 (1.08) 3.22 (1.01) t (5,468) ¼.73, p¼ns
Child negative affect 1.55 (.78) 1.56 (.70) t (5,692) ¼.60, p¼ns
Parent-child conict 1.39 (.65) 1.32 (.53) t (6,073) ¼4.66, p<.001
Parental warmth 2.95 (1.08) 3.00 (.97) t (5,767) ¼2.12, p<.05
Parent psychological distress 1.52 (.70) 1.45 (.57) t (6,140) ¼4.73, p<.001
% Parent lost job 23.90 12.70
(1) ¼95.53, p<.001
% Parent work from home 44.00 73.40
(1) ¼26.19, p<.001
Childs age 14.93 (1.64) 15.34 (1.66) t(447) ¼2.56, p<.05
% Male child versus female child 38.80 39.80
(1) ¼.04, p¼ns
% Black child versus white child 57.60 22.80
(1) ¼51.83, p<.001
% Other race child versus white child 19.90 25.10
(1) ¼1.68, p¼ns
% Father versus mother 11.80 14.40
(1) ¼.64, p¼ns
% Black parent versus white parent 60.00 23.60
(1) ¼57.35 p<.001
% Other race parent versus white parent 14.30 21.30
(1) ¼3.71, p¼ns
Prepandemic parent-child relationship 4.16 (.96) 4.33 (.82) t(402) ¼2.04, p<.05
M.-T. Wang et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health xxx (2021) 1e85
loss than families with more economic resources. Our results also
show that levels of parent-adolescent conict were higher
among low-income families. Low-income families are more
likely to work in hourly and essential service sector jobs, and
during the pandemic, these families were more vulnerable to
layoffs and furloughs and less likely to WFH as compared with
ofce-based, white-collar roles [3,34]. Furthermore, many
economically disadvantaged parents who escaped job loss dur-
ing the pandemic worked in essential roles (i.e., essential
workers) that required them to place themselves at risk for
COVID-19 infection. These contextual hardships can quickly
accumulate in ways that undermine family functioning and
emotional well-being [2,4,9,35]: As job loss foments negative
family relationships and WFH fosters parental warmth,
economically disadvantaged families confront more contextual
adversities and less access to protective factors.
This work is a rst step into understanding family dynamics
and adolescent emotional well-being within the context of a
pandemic-related economic crisis. Although this longitudinal
study highlights the key role family relationships play in linking
COVID-19s economic impacts to adolescentsemotions, these
data were collected during the nascent stages of the pandemic.
As family well-being may change over the course of the
pandemic, future studies should investigate whether and how
our ndings persist, attenuate, or strengthen over time. In
addition, researchers should focus on increasing generalizability
by using more racially proportionate, geographically diverse
samples, as our nationwide sample was not representative of the
national population, nor could these results be applied to youth
from states where stay-at-home orders were not enacted.
Because the daily-diary assessment occurred once per day for
15 days, future studies should consider collecting information
about the within-day sequencing of events over a longer period
of time. In addition, we did not use multidimensional or clinical
scales to measure family dynamics or psychological adjustment
as a means of minimizing daily participant burden.
As is the case in all nonexperimental research, we cannot
rmly establish causal relationships among the patterns of
associations observed in this study, nor can we denitively
attribute changes in childrens emotional states to parent-child
relational dynamics. Childrens characteristics and parenting
are often reciprocally related. Analyzing extensive longitudinal
data collected over an extended period of time in a cross-lagged
Table 5
Direct and indirect effects of family employment status and family relationship on child affect
Predictors Child positive affect outcome Child negative affect outcome
Parent lost job Parent-child conict as the
Parental warmth as the
Parent-child conict as
the mediator
Parental warmth as the
B (SE) 95% CI B (SE) 95% CI B (SE) 95% CI B (SE) 95% CI
Parent lost job /Mediator .15 (.07)*.01, .29 .05 (.11) .16, .26 - - - -
Mediator /child affect .16 (.02)*** .20, .11 .15 (.02)*** .11, .18 .14 (.02)*** .09, .18 .04 (.01)*** .06, .02
Parent lost job /child affect .09 (.10) .29, .10 - - .28 (.09)** .11, .46 - -
Parent lost job /mediator /Outcome .02 (.01)*.04, .01 .01 (.02) .03, .05 .02 (.01)*.01, .05 .00 (.01) .01, .01
Parent lost job /child affect .06 (.11) .28, .16 - - .39 (.10)*** .20, .59 - -
Parent works from home (WFH)
WFH /mediator .09 (.05) .01, .19 .23 (.08)** .07, .38 - - - -
Mediator /outcome .16 (.02)*** .20, .11 .15 (.02)*** .11, .18 .14 (.02)*** .09, .18 .04 (.01)*** .06, .02
WFH /outcome .06 (.07) .08, .21 - - .01 (.06) .13, .10 - -
WFH /mediator /outcome .01 (.01) .03, .01 .04 (.01)** .01, .07 .01 (.01) .01, .03 .01 (.00)*.02, .01
WFH /outcome .23 (.09)*.04, .41 - - .02 (.07) .11, .15 - -
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.
Table 4
Direct effect of family employment status and family relationship on child affect
Predictor Child positive affect Child negative affect Parent-child conict Parental warmth
Within person
Day .01 (.00)** .01 (.01)
Weekend .02 (.02) .01 (.01)
Parent-child conict .16 (.02)*** .15 (.02)***
Parental warmth .15 (.02)*** .04 (.01)***
Between person
Low-income family .04 (.08) .06 (.06) .10 (.05)*.03 (.08)
Lost job .11 (.10) .37 (.10)*** .15 (.07)*.04 (.11)
Work from home .06 (.07) .04 (.06) .09 (.05) .23 (.08)**
Child age .02 (.02) .05 (.02)** .01 (.02) .07 (.02)**
Child boy versus girl .01 (.07) .19 (.06)** .02 (.05) .09 (.07)
Black child versus white child .12 (.21) .20 (.16) .02 (.10) .27 (.18)
Other race child versus white child .04 (.16) .13 (.11) .07 (.06) .06 (.13)
Father versus mother .03 (.10) .03 (.10) .05 (.05) .04 (.10)
Black parent versus white parent .34 (.21) .03 (.15) .02 (.09) .23 (.17)
Other race parent versus white parent .05 (.16) .03 (.11) .01 (.08) .27 (.15)
Prior parent-child relationship .02 (.05) .02 (.05) .14 (.04)*** .37 (.05)***
*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001.
M.-T. Wang et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health xxx (2021) 1e86
panel framework could yield additional insights about the di-
rection of effects. Relatedly, we cannot rule out the possibility
that other parental characteristics (e.g., parenting style)
contributed to family processes. Future research may benet
from assessing other dimensions of family relationships or
parental characteristics as potential moderators or mediators
and using prepandemic comparison data to determine differ-
ences in prepandemic and peripandemic parenting. Researchers
interested in continuing this line of inquiry should also incor-
porate clinical evaluations to explore adolescentspsychological
well-being during COVID-19 more thoroughly.
Using multiinformant daily-diary data with a racially and
socioeconomically diverse U.S. sample, this study showed that
COVID-19s effect on parental employment status shaped family
processes which in turn inuenced adolescent emotional
adjustment. With emerging evidence showing increased mental
health issues among U.S. adolescents during COVID-19 [36], the
need for research that identies key risk and protective factors
for youth well-being persists. The American Academy of Pedi-
atrics policy guidance emphasizes the central role pediatricians
play in promoting childrens socioemotional health, and re-
searchers and policy makers continue to advocate for mental
health screening and referrals in schools [37,38]. Clinicians and
schools can screen youth for signs of psychological distress and
support parents by providing information about best practices
for managing stress, dealing with family conict, and meeting
their childrens emotional needs.
More broadly, a multipronged policy response is needed to
address the negative societal impacts fueled by COVID-19 [39]:
At-risk families need substantive nancial and health supports
that stabilize income for parents who lost their jobs and increase
access to school and community-based socioemotional supports.
Although exible and remote work options are not feasible for all
working parents, public policies and workplace benets that
buoy parental well-being, such as paid time off, livable wages,
and adequate health care, may improve the qualitydif not the
quantitydof parentstime with their children, thereby
enhancing adolescent emotional well-being [40]. By focusing on
macrostructural factors and family-level processes, policy
makers and practitioners can promote adolescentswell-being,
even in the face of a pandemic.
Supplementary Data
Supplementary data related to this article can be found at
[1] Russell BS, Hutchison M, Tambling R, et al. Initial challenges of caregiving
during COVID-19: Caregiver burden, mental health, and the parentechild
relationship. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 2020;51:671e82.
[2] Gassman-Pines A, Ananat EO, Fitz-Henley J. COVID-19 and parent-child
psychological well-being. Pediatrics 2020;146. e2020007294.
[3] Martin A, Markhvida M, Hallegatte S, Walsh B. Socio-economic impacts of
COVID-19 on household Consumption and poverty. Econ Disasters Clim
Chang 2020;4:453e79.
[4] Kalil A, Mayer S, Shah R. Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on family dynamics
in economically vulnerable households. SSRN Electron J 2020. https://doi.
org/10.2139/ssrn.3706339. Available at:
papers.cfm?abstract_id¼3706339. Accessed August 21, 2021.
[5] Vaziri H, Casper WJ, Wayne JH, Matthews RA. Changes to the work-family
Interface during the COVID-19 pandemic: Examining predictors and impli-
cations using Latent transition analysis. J Appl Psychol 2020;105:1073e87.
[6] Fegert JM, Vitiello B, Plener PL, Clemens V. 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. Child Adolesc Psychiatry
Ment Health 2020;14:20.
[7] Prime H, Wade M, Browne DT. Risk and resilience in family well-being
during the COVID-19 pandemic. Am Psychol 2020;75:631e43.
[8] Masten AS. Ordinary Magic: Resilience in development. New York, NY: The
Guilford Press; 2014.
[9] Kalil A, Wightman P. Parental job loss and family conict. Bowling Green,
OH: National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State
University; 2010. Working Paper Series: WP-10-07.
[10] Acquah D, Sellers R, Stock L, Harold G. Inter-parental conict and outcomes
for children in the contexts of poverty and economic pressure. London: Early
Intervention Foundation; 2017. Available at:
interparental-conict-children-poverty-economic-pressure.pdf. Accessed
August 21, 2021.
[11] Weymouth BB, Buehler C, Zhou N, Henson RA. A meta-analysis of parent-
adolescent conict: Disagreement, hostility, and youth maladjustment.
J Fam Theor Rev 2016;8:95e112.
[12] Silva K, Ford CA, Miller VA. Daily parent-teen conict and parent and
adolescent well-being: The moderating role of daily and person-level
warmth. J Youth Adolesc 2020;49:1601e16.
[13] Allen TD, Johnson RC, Kiburz KM, Shockley KM. Work-family conict and
exible work arrangements: Deconstructing exibility. Pers Psychol 2013;
[14] Kelly EL, Moen P, Tranby E. Changing workplaces to reduce work-family
conict: Schedule control in a white-collar organization. Am Sociol Rev
[15] Wadsworth ME, Rindlaub L, Hurwich-Reiss E, et al. A lo ngitudinal examination
of the Adaptation to Poverty-Related Stress Model: Predicting child and
adolescent adjustment over time. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 2013;42: 713e25.
[16] Bolger N, Davis A, Rafaeli E. Diary methods: Capturing life as it is lived.
Annu Rev Psychol 2003;54:579e616.
[17] Heuchert JP, McNair DM. Prole of mood states e2nd edition (POMS-2).
2nd ed. North Tonawanda, NY: Multi-Health Systems, Inc.; 2012.
[18] Cranford JA, Shrout PE, Iida M, et al. A procedure for evaluating sensitivity
to within-person change: Can mood measures in diary studies detect
change reliably? Personal Soc Psychol Bull 2006;32:917e29.
[19] Furman W, Buhrmester D. Methods and measures: The network of re-
lationships inventory: Behavioral systems version. Int J Behav Dev 2009;
[20] Dearing E, McCartney K, Taylor BA. Change in family income-to-needs
matters more for children with less. Child Dev 2001;72:1779e93.
[21] Duncan GJ, Magnuson K, Votruba-Drzal E. Children and socioeconomic
status. In: Handbook of child Psychology and developmental Science.
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2015:1e40.
[22] Conger RD, Wallace LE, Sun Y, et al. Economic pressure in African American
families: A replication and extension of the family stress model. Dev Psy-
chol 2002;38:179e93.
[23] McLoyd VC. The impact of economic hardship on Black families and chil-
dren: Psychological distress, parenting, and socioemotional development.
Child Dev 1990;61:311e46.
[24] Lawson M, Piel MH, Simon M. Child maltreatment during the COVID-19
pandemic: Consequences of parental job loss on psychological and Phys-
ical abuse towards children. Child Abuse Negl 2020;110:104709.
[25] Neppl TK, Senia JM, Donnellan MB, Bonnellan MB. The effects of economic
hardship: Testing the family stress model over time. J Fam Psychol 2016;
[26] Wadsworth ME, Compas BE. Coping with family conict and economic
strain: The adolescent perspective. J Res Adolesc 2002;12:243e74.
[27] Heinrich CJ. Parentsemployment and childrens wellbeing. Futur Child
[28] Perry-Jenkins M, Laws HB, Sayer A, Newkirk K. Parentswork and childrens
development: A longitudinal investigation of working-class families. J Fam
Psychol 2019;34:257e68.
[29] McCrory CalarcoJ, Meanwell E, Anderson E, Knopf A. Letsnot pretend itsfun:
How COVID-19-related school and childcare closures are camaging mothers
well-being. OSF Prepr2020:1e28.Available at:
jyvk4. Available at: Accessed August
21, 2021.
[30] Khaleque A. Perceived parental warmth, and childrens psychological
adjustment, and personality dispositions: A meta-analysis. J Child Fam
Stud 2013;22:297e306.
[31] Luebbe AM, Bell DJ. Positive and negative family emotional climate
differentially predict youth anxiety and depression via distinct affective
pathways. J Abnorm Child Psychol 2014;42:897e911.
[32] Brooks-Gunn J, Schneider W, Waldfogel J. The great recession and the risk
for child maltreatment. Child Abus Negl 2013;37:721e9.
[33] Brown SM, Doom JR, Lechuga-Peña S, et al. Stress and parenting during the
global COVID-19 pandemic. Child Abus Negl 2020;110:1e14.
M.-T. Wang et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health xxx (2021) 1e87
[34] Kochhar R, Barroso A. Young workers likely to Be hard Hit as COVID-19
Strikes a Blow to Restraurants and other service sector jobs. PEW Research;
2020. Available at:
charts-on-global-views-of-china/. Accessed August 21, 2021.
[35] Gassman-Pines A, Oltmans Ananat E, Gibson-Davis CM. Effects of statewide
job losses on adolescent suicide-Related behaviors. Am J Public Health
[36] Hussong AM, Midgette AJ, Thomas TE, et al. Coping and mental health in
early adolescence during COVID-19. Res Child Adolesc Psychopathol 2021;
[37] Foy JM, Green CM, Earls MF. Mental health competencies for pediatric
practice. Pediatrics 2019;144:1e18.
[38] Husky MM, Sheridan M, McGuire L, Olfson M. Mental health screening and
follow-up care in public high schools. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry
[39] Dooley DG, Bandealy A, Tschudy MM. Low-income children and
coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US. JAMA Pediatr 2020;174:
[40] MilkieMA, NomaguchiKM, Denny KE. Doesthe amount of timemothers spend
with children or adolescents matter? J Marriage Fam 2015;77:355e72.
M.-T. Wang et al. / Journal of Adolescent Health xxx (2021) 1e88
... Last, research has established the substantial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on employment (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022), but the impact of job loss on child internalizing symptoms over time has not been established. Caregiver unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic could serve as a risk factor for young children through its contribution to increased familial stress, or as a protective factor for young children who may not understand the negative implications of unemployment and instead experience increased positive time with caregivers as a result of their job loss (Wang et al., 2021). Further research is necessary to disentangle this association. ...
... Notably, families with low SES and minoritized racial or ethnic group membership were recruited for participation in this study. The pandemic has further perpetuated inequity in mental-health risk factors for low SES families and people of color due to restricted opportunity structures that disproportionally affect marginalized groups in the United States (Ali et al., 2019;Golberstein et al., 2020;Tai et al., 2021;Wang et al., 2021), underscoring the importance of investigating mental health symptom trajectories of children in these families. ...
Repeated measures are required to monitor and map trajectories of mental health symptoms that are sensitive to the changing distal and proximal stressors throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Understanding symptoms in young children is particularly important given the short- and long-term implications of early-onset internalizing symptoms. This study utilized an intensive longitudinal approach to assess the course and environmental correlates of anxiety and depression symptoms in 133 children, ages 4–11 (Mage = 7.35, SD = 1.03), in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caregivers completed 48 repeated assessments from April 7, 2020, to June 15, 2021, on child and caregiver mental health symptoms, family functioning, and COVID-19-related environmental changes. Results from a series of multilevel growth models demonstrate that child depression symptoms were highest following initial stay-at-home orders (April 2020) and linearly decreased over time, while child anxiety symptoms were variable over the 15-month period. Caregiver depression symptoms and family conflict significantly predicted levels of child depression symptoms. In contrast, caregiver depression symptoms, caregiver anxiety symptoms, and time spent home quarantining significantly predicted levels of child anxiety symptoms. Results suggest that depression and anxiety symptoms in young children may have unique trajectories over the course of the coronavirus pandemic and highlight symptom-specific risk factors for each symptom.
... However, families with less neighborhood greenspace may be more reliant on public parks and thus more impacted by park closures. Also, parents in low-income families were more likely to be essential workers in jobs that remained in-person, 40 which may have limited time and resources available to supervise children's physical activity. ...
Introduction : Pediatric obesity rates increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study examined associations of neighborhood greenspace with changes in pediatric obesity during the pandemic. Methods : Electronic health record data from a large pediatric primary care network were extracted to create a retrospective cohort of patients aged 2‒17 years with a visit in each of 2 periods: June‒December 2019 (pre-pandemic) and June‒December 2020 (pandemic). Multivariable longitudinal generalized estimating equations Poisson regression estimated associations of census tract-level normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) with (1) changes in obesity risk during the pandemic and (2) risk of new-onset obesity among children who were not obese pre-pandemic. Analyses were conducted between November 2021 and May 2022. Results : Among 81,418 children (mean age: 8.4 years, 18% Black), the percentage obese increased by 3.2% during the pandemic. Children in NDVI quartiles 2‒4 had smaller increases in obesity risk during the pandemic compared to quartile 1 (risk ratio=0.96, 95% CI=0.93, 0.99; quartile 3 risk ratio=0.95; 95% CI=0.91, 0.98; quartile 4 risk ratio=0.95, 95% CI=0.92, 0.99). Among the subset who were not obese pre-pandemic, children in NDVI quartiles 3‒4 had lower risk of new-onset obesity during the pandemic (quartile 3 risk ratio=0.82, 95% CI=0.71, 0.95; quartile 4 risk ratio=0.73, 95% CI=0.62, 0.85). Higher NDVI was associated with smaller increases in obesity risk and lower risk of new-onset obesity among children in urban and suburban areas, but results were in the opposite direction for children in rural areas. Conclusions : Children living in greener neighborhoods experienced smaller increases in obesity during the pandemic than children in less green neighborhoods, although findings differed by urbanicity.
... Thus, an ambiguous boundary between work and family emerged, particularly among employed mothers, due to childcare facilities and schools shifting to online classes during COVID-19 [14]. Employment shifts during COVID-19 also experienced changes in parent-child relational dynamics that influenced their emotional well-being negatively [15]. ...
Full-text available
Objective: This study examined the relationship between the flexibility of work schedule arrangements and well-being among full-time workers prior to and after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in South Korea. Methods: Data from the fifth 2017 and sixth 2020-2021 Korean Working Conditions Survey, including a final sample of 45,137 participants (22,460 males; 22,677 females), were used. Multiple logistic regression was performed to establish the association between schedule arrangement types and the 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index. Results: The study found an association between flexible schedule arrangements and good well-being in 2017: "little flexibility" (odds ratio (OR), 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.27-1.48), "moderate flexibility" (OR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.28-1.71), and "high flexibility" (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.06-1.72). During COVID-19, only workers with "high flexibility" were likely to have good well-being (OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.18-1.88), while the association between well-being and "low flexibility" (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.96-1.17) and "moderate flexibility" types (OR, 0.66; 95% CI 0.59-0.75) decreased. This study found that flexible working hours may contribute to better well-being among full-time workers. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working conditions and employee well-being should be addressed while setting working hours.
... Language difficulties might also have made home-schooling difficult for many immigrant families. This interpretation concurs with other research documenting that children and youth from families with low socioeconomic status, immigrant background, and limited living space were more affected by COVID-19 regarding decreases in health-related quality of life [17,39]. One could assume that several of these aspects may impact the current study's parent relations and autonomy dimension. ...
Full-text available
In this study, we aimed to examine health-related quality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic among a general sample of young people in Norway aged 11–19 years. More specifically, we examine: (1) Change over 2 time-points in five health-related quality of life dimensions, (2) Whether sociodemographic- and COVID-19-related factors contributed to change in these five dimensions, (3) Whether parental stress and socioeconomic status at T1 interacted with change in health-related quality of life across T1 and T2. Data collection lasted from April 27th to May 11th, 2020 (T1), and from December 16th, 2020, to January 10th, 2021 (T2). Youth aged 11–19 years ( N = 2997) completed the KIDSCREEN-27, COVID-19 related and sociodemographic items. Parents ( N = 744) of youth aged 15 years and younger completed the parental stress scale and sociodemographic items. Physical and psychological wellbeing declined significantly from March to December 2020. Subscale scores for social support and peers increased. Controlling for a broad number of sociodemographic and COVID-19-related factors did not make an overall impact on the estimates. Those worried about infection, older aged, girls, and youth born outside Norway had a steeper decline in health-related quality of life subdimensions from T1 to T2. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we warrant special attention to the recovery of youth's physical and psychological wellbeing.
... Lack of work activity became a negative factor that significantly influenced family life, facilitating conflictive or violent situations, similar to the results obtained by Neyişci et al. (2021). Research by Wang et al. (2021) also showed that those parents who lost their jobs during the pandemic experienced increased conflict with their children. ...
Full-text available
Spain was one of the countries in which more severe lockdown policies were imposed during the second term of 2020 to mitigate the unprecedented health crisis. The measures restricted citizens’ mobility, obliging families to stay confined at homes for 99 days since 15 March 2020. The measures created a number of challenges that affect the family climate. This paper aims to empirically analyse how the family climate in Spain has been affected by COVID-19. The family climate assessment was based on an online questionnaire answered by 2034 citizens. A multi-criteria decision-making method rooted in fuzzy logic and TOPSIS, and a fuzzy clustering method, are applied to analyse the effects of the COVID-19 on the family climate. The fuzzy clustering method reveals that there are three different family climate profiles, namely (1) extreme positive, (2) extreme negative, and (3) intermediate. Our results show that some traits affect having a more or less positive family climate. The authors discuss the main contributions and the policy implications that could provide insights into future measures.
... In such families, partners had to manage their co-parenting (Lucassen et al., 2021) and adjust to conditions where children studied from home (Lee et al., 2021). Second, many couples experienced changes in financial conditions, including reduces in the family income (Prime et al., 2020;Wang et al., 2021). Adjusting to new financial conditions combined with a reduction in working hours for many, or even job loss, partners had to renegotiate division of household tasks and address changes in family-work balance (Adisa et al., 2021). ...
Full-text available
The COVID‐19 pandemic has affected nearly every area of daily life, including romantic relationships. With the pandemic still ongoing, this study reviewed the existing scholarly literature to document the status of empirical research on how COVID‐19 has affected couples during its first year. Studies were identified through searching five databases as well as sources of gray literature. Overall, 42 studies on committed romantic relationships during the first year of the pandemic were identified. The mapping process revealed four main themes: (1) relationship quality; (2) sexuality; (3) couple daily adjustment; and (4) intimate partner violence. The findings suggest that the way romantic relationships were affected by the pandemic depends on a variety of demographic, individual, and couple‐level factors. Implications include a call for both the development of evidence‐based interventions that consider the current findings and further research to continue exploring the clinical implications of future findings to promote healthy intimate relationships during the ongoing global pandemic.
Families with school-age children were particularly affected by the changes resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic. Facing the new reality, the family systems and the family members were challenged to reorganize their individual and family functioning, given their practical, relational and emotional developmental tasks in a changed life context. Objective: This research aims to examine the impact of socio-demographic variables on the family on their general functioning on the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia during the Covid 19 pandemic. Method and Materials: The research included 148 respondents - parents of school-age children. The research was conducted in the period from October 2020 to April 2021. The instruments used in the research are Demographic Data Questionnaire and Family Assessment Device (FAD). Results: The results show that higher level of education, higher family income as well as employment of the family members are associated with better family functioning. According to the results, a larger number of family members is associated with poorer family functioning, as well as a larger number of children in the family. Conclusion: Certain socio-demographic characteristics of families with school-age children have an impact on their overall family functioning during the Covid 19 pandemic. It is common for all families to face problems in pandemic conditions, but it depends on their abilities and strengths how they deal with them. Psychological support for the families can be useful in overcoming the challenges, considering their characteristics, needs, as well as the specifics of the family life cycle.
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the psychosocial functioning of children and families. It is important to consider adversity in relation to processes of positive adaptation. To date, there are no empirically validated multi-item scales measuring COVID-related positive adaptation within families. The aim of the current study was to develop and validate a new measure: the Family Positive Adaptation during COVID-19 Scale (Family PACS). The sample included 372 female and 158 male caregivers (73% White-European/North American; median 2019 income = $50,000 to $74,999 USD) of children ages 5–18 years old from the United Kingdom (76%), the United States (19%), Canada (4%), and Australia (1%), who completed measures in May 2020. Participants responded to a 14-item survey indexing a range of perceived coping and adaptation behaviors at the beginning of the pandemic. An exploratory factor analysis yielded an optimal one-factor solution comprised of seven items related to family cohesion, flexibility, routines, and meaning-making (loadings from 0.44 to 0.67). Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated measurement invariance across female and male caregivers, demonstrating that the factor structure, loadings, and thresholds did not vary by caregiver sex. There was evidence for concurrent validity with significant bivariate correlations between the Family PACS scores and measures of caregiver positive coping, parenting practices, couple satisfaction, and family functioning (correlations from 0.10 to 0.23), but not negatively-valenced constructs. Findings inform our conceptualization of how families have adapted to adverse pandemic-related conditions. Further, we provide preliminary support for the Family PACS as a practical tool for evaluating positive family adaptation during this global crisis, with implications for future widespread crises.
Full-text available
This in-depth critical review investigates the impact of COVID-19 on personal relationships from the start of the pandemic in early 2020 to September 2021. Research examining six themes are identified and described in detail: the impact of COVID-19 on (1) family and intimate relationships; (2) LGBTQ+ relationships; (3) how COVID-19 is linked to technologically mediated communication and personal relationships; (4) potential shifts in sexual behaviors and desire; (5) potential shifts in relational conflict and intimate partner violence; and (6) constructive aspects of personal relationships, which is a broad theme that includes outcomes such as resilience, relational quality, coping, and social support. Findings for overarching patterns are offered to highlight implications for current research and identify future directions to consider when continuing to study personal relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic and similar future crises.
Full-text available
Research confirms that the mental health burdens following community-wide disasters are extensive, with pervasive impacts noted in individuals and families. It is clear that child disaster outcomes are worst among children of highly distressed caregivers, or those caregivers who experience their own negative mental health outcomes from the disaster. The current study used path analysis to examine concurrent patterns of parents’ (n = 420) experience from a national sample during the early months of the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic. The results of a multi-group path analysis, organized by parent gender, indicate good fit to the data [X2(10) = 159.04, p < .01]. Results indicate significant linkages between parents’ caregiver burden, mental health, and perceptions of children’s stress; these in turn are significantly linked to child-parent closeness and conflict, indicating possible spillover effects for depressed parents and compensatory effects for anxious parents. The impact of millions of families sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic for an undefined period of time may lead to unprecedented impacts on individuals’ mental health with unknown impacts on child-parent relationships. These impacts may be heightened for families whose caregivers experience increased mental health symptoms, as was the case for fathers in the current sample.
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive economic shock across the world due to business interruptions and shutdowns from social-distancing measures. To evaluate the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on individuals, a micro-economic model is developed to estimate the direct impact of distancing on household income, savings, consumption, and poverty. The model assumes two periods: a crisis period during which some individuals experience a drop in income and can use their savings to maintain consumption; and a recovery period, when households save to replenish their depleted savings to pre-crisis level. The San Francisco Bay Area is used as a case study, and the impacts of a lockdown are quantified, accounting for the effects of unemployment insurance (UI) and the CARES Act federal stimulus. Assuming a shelter-in-place period of three months, the poverty rate would temporarily increase from 17.1% to 25.9% in the Bay Area in the absence of social protection, and the lowest income earners would suffer the most in relative terms. If fully implemented, the combination of UI and CARES could keep the increase in poverty close to zero, and reduce the average recovery time, for individuals who suffer an income loss, from 11.8 to 6.7 months. However, the severity of the economic impact is spatially heterogeneous, and certain communities are more affected than the average and could take more than a year to recover. Overall, this model is a first step in quantifying the household-level impacts of COVID-19 at a regional scale. This study can be extended to explore the impact of indirect macroeconomic effects, the role of uncertainty in households’ decision-making and the potential effect of simultaneous exogenous shocks (e.g., natural disasters).
Full-text available
Employees around the world have experienced sudden, significant changes in their work and family roles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, applied psychologists have limited understanding of how employee experiences of work-family conflict and enrichment have been affected by this event and what organizations can do to ensure better employee functioning during such societal crises. Adopting a person-centered approach, we examine transitions in employees’ work-family interfaces from before COVID-19 to after its onset. First, in Study 1, using latent profile analysis (N = 379; non-pandemic data), we identify profiles of bidirectional conflict and enrichment, including beneficial (low conflict and high enrichment), active (medium conflict and enrichment), and passive (low conflict and enrichment). In Study 2, with data collected before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, we replicate Study 1 profiles and explore whether employees transition between work-family profiles during the pandemic. Results suggest that while many remain in pre-pandemic profiles, positive (from active/passive to beneficial) and negative (from beneficial to active/passive) transitions occurred for a meaningful proportion of respondents. People were more likely to go through negative transitions if they had high segmentation preferences, engaged in emotion-focused coping, experienced higher technostress, and had less compassionate supervisors. In turn, negative transitions were associated with negative employee consequences during the pandemic (e.g., lower job satisfaction and job performance, and higher turnover intent). We discuss implications for future research and for managing during societal crises, both present and future.
Full-text available
In early-mid adolescence, parent–teen conflicts become more intense and parents’ displays of warmth tend to decline temporarily. Daily increases of parent–teen conflict have been linked to concurrent increases in adolescent emotional distress, yet greater average levels of parental warmth are known to buffer adolescents’ response to daily stressors such as interpersonal conflict. It is unclear whether daily increases in parental warmth may also function as a protective buffer that attenuates the daily association between parent–teen conflict and individuals’ well-being. The present study aimed to fill an important gap in the literature by examining daily (within-person) fluctuations, and average between-person differences, in parental warmth as potential moderators of the daily association between parent–teen conflict intensity (defined here by the degree of negative emotions in parent–teen interactions) and well-being (distress, positive affect, and self-esteem) of both parents and adolescents. Data are based on daily reports from 120 parents–adolescents dyads recruited from a primary care practice in the Northeastern U.S. Almost all parents were mothers (Mage = 44.55, SD = 6.36), 61% of adolescents were female (Mage = 14.36, SD = 0.88), and 66% of dyads were African American. Multilevel modeling was used to assess the daily association between parent–teen conflict and well-being and examine daily and person-level (across-days) warmth as moderators of that association. Examining daily parental warmth as a moderator addressed whether the daily association between conflict and well-being varied as a function of when parental warmth increased or decreased within individuals (relative to individuals’ own daily average). In contrast, examining person-level mean warmth as a moderator addressed whether the daily association between conflict and well-being varied as a function of who, on average, reported higher vs. lower levels of parental warmth. As expected, both parents and adolescents reported significantly lower well-being on days they experienced more conflict than usual. Daily fluctuations in parental warmth did not moderate the daily associations between conflict and well-being in parents or adolescents, indicating that the daily association did not change when parents were warmer than usual. In adolescents, the daily associations between conflict and distress, as well as conflict and positive affect, were moderated by person-mean levels of parental warmth, such that daily increases in conflict were associated with higher distress and lower positive affect (on the same day) primarily among adolescents with average or below average levels of parental warmth. Daily conflict was not associated with lower well-being among adolescents with higher-than-average levels of parental warmth. In parents, neither daily nor person-level warmth moderated the daily association between conflict and well-being, suggesting that the negative, daily association between conflict and well-being did not change as a function of parents’ daily or average perceptions of warmth. These findings suggest that isolated, day-specific increases in warmth may be less protective than high, stable levels of parental warmth in mitigating the daily association between parent–teen conflict and adolescent well-being.
The current longitudinal study examines changes in overall mental health symptomatology from before to after the COVID-19 outbreak in youth from the southeastern United States as well as the potential mitigating effects of self-efficacy, optimism, and coping. A sample of 105 parent–child dyads participated in the study (49% boys; 81% European American, 1% Alaska Native/American Indian, 9% Asian/Asian American; 4% Black/African American; 4% Latinx; and 4% other; 87% mothers; 25% high school graduate without college education; 30% degree from 4-year college; 45% graduate or professional school). Parents completed surveys when children were aged 6–9, 8–12, 9–13, and 12–16, with the last assessments occurring between May 13, 2020 and July 1, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Children also completed online surveys at ages 11–16 assessing self-efficacy, optimism, and coping. Multi-level modeling analyses showed a within-person increase in mental health symptoms from before to after the outbreak after controlling for changes associated with maturation. Symptom increases were mitigated in youth with greater self-efficacy and (to some extent) problem-focused engaged coping, and exacerbated in youth with greater emotion-focused engaged and disengaged coping. Implications of this work include the importance of reinforcing self-efficacy in youth during times of crisis, such as the pandemic, and the potential downsides of emotion-focused coping as an early response to the crisis for youth.
The COVID-19 pandemic closed schools and childcare centers across the U.S., forcing many parents to care for children at home. While parents generally enjoy time with children and want more “family time,” evidence also suggests that substantial, unanticipated increases in parenting time may negatively impact at least some mothers’ well-being. We investigate this possibility using surveys (N=139) and in-depth interviews (N=65) with mothers of young children in Southern Indiana conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic (April-May 2020). We find that mothers who have greatly increased the time they spend caring for their children also disproportionately report increased stress, anxiety, and frustrations with their children. Our qualitative data reveal that disruptions in childcare arrangements, particularly when coupled with intensive work pressures and/or intensive parenting norms, exacerbate the negative impact of increased parenting time on mothers’ well-being. Meanwhile, other mothers are not experiencing increased parenting time as a substantial source of stress, and some are even experiencing increased parenting time as a source of joy in otherwise difficult times. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on parenting and its impact on women’s health and labor force participation, as well as for policies to support families during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Background: Job loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic presents significant risk for child abuse. Protective factors, such as reframing coping, may mitigate the risk of job loss on child maltreatment. Objective: The current study investigated factors associated with child maltreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, including parental job loss, and whether cognitive reframing moderated associations between job loss and child maltreatment. Method: A community sample of 342 parents (62% mothers) of 4- to 10-year-olds (M = 7.38, SD = 2.01; 57.3% male) living in the United States completed online questionnaires regarding experiences with COVID-19, the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale, and the Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales. Results: Two logistic regression analyses evaluated predictors of whether parents psychologically maltreated or physically abused their children during the pandemic controlling for maltreating history, parental depressive symptoms, financial stability, parent age, parent gender, child age, and child gender. Parents who lost their jobs (OR = 4.86, 95% CI [1.19, 19.91], p = .03), were more depressed (OR = 1.05, 95% CI [1.02, 1.08], p < .01), and previously psychologically maltreated their children (OR = 111.94, 95% CI [28.54, 439.01], p < .001) were more likely to psychologically maltreat during the pandemic. Regarding physical abuse, a significant interaction between job loss and reframing coping emerged (OR = 0.76, 95% CI [0.59, 0.99], p = .04). Among parents who lost their jobs, the probability of physical abuse decreased as reframing coping increased. Conclusions: Job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant risk factor for child maltreatment. Reframing coping may be an important buffer of this association on physical abuse and presents implications for maltreatment prevention.
Background: Stress and compromised parenting often place children at risk of abuse and neglect. Child maltreatment has generally been viewed as a highly individualistic problem by focusing on stressors and parenting behaviors that impact individual families. However, because of the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), families across the world are experiencing a new range of stressors that threaten their health, safety, and economic well-being. Objective: This study examined the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to parental perceived stress and child abuse potential. Participants and setting: Participants included parents (N = 183) with a child under the age of 18 years in the western United States. Method: Tests of group differences and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were employed to assess the relationships among demographic characteristics, COVID-19 risk factors, mental health risk factors, protective factors, parental perceived stress, and child abuse potential. Results: Greater COVID-19 related stressors and high anxiety and depressive symptoms are associated with higher parental perceived stress. Receipt of financial assistance and high anxiety and depressive symptoms are associated with higher child abuse potential. Conversely, greater parental support and perceived control during the pandemic are associated with lower perceived stress and child abuse potential. Results also indicate racial and ethnic differences in COVID-19 related stressors, but not in mental health risk, protective factors, perceived stress, or child abuse potential. Conclusion: Findings suggest that although families experience elevated stressors from COVID-19, providing parental support and increasing perceived control may be promising intervention targets.
Background and objectives: The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 has changed American society in ways that are difficult to capture in a timely manner. With this study, we take advantage of daily survey data collected before and after the crisis started to investigate the hypothesis that the crisis has worsened parents' and children's psychological well-being. We also examine the extent of crisis-related hardships and evaluate the hypothesis that the accumulation of hardships will be associated with parent and child psychological well-being. Methods: Daily survey data were collected between February 20 and April 27, 2020, from hourly service workers with a young child (aged 2-7) in a large US city (N = 8222 person-days from 645 individuals). A subsample completed a one-time survey about the effects of the crisis fielded between March 23 and April 26 (subsample n = 561). Results: Ordered probit models revealed that the frequency of parent-reported daily negative mood increased significantly since the start of the crisis. Many families have experienced hardships during the crisis, including job loss, income loss, caregiving burden, and illness. Both parents' and children's well-being in the postcrisis period was strongly associated with the number of crisis-related hardships that the family experienced. Conclusions: Consistent with our hypotheses, in families that have experienced multiple hardships related to the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis, both parents' and children's mental health is worse. As the crisis continues to unfold, pediatricians should screen for mental health, with particular attention to children whose families are especially vulnerable to economic and disease aspects of the crisis.