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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
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... In addition to whole-family functioning, changes to parental discipline practices (i.e., harsh: angry/coercive/over-reactive and lax: overly permissive/inconsistent) and parent-child conflict also predicted child internalizing problems in studies using prepandemic data (Fosco et al., 2022) and those with all data collection taking place during the pandemic (Qu et al., 2021;Wang, Henry, et al., 2021;Wang, Henry, et al., 2022). Other predictors of more child internalizing problems were prior parental overreactivity (Achterberg et al., 2021), less supportive parental responses to child emotions , parental fear induction practices regarding the severity of the pandemic (Ren et al., 2021), and more fear-inducing pandemic-focused family conversations (e.g., importance of hand washing, preventing spread of germs, protecting vulnerable people; Trucco et al., 2022). ...
... The parenting environment (e.g., parent-child conflict, positive parenting practices) may help to explain when and/or why some children are more vulnerable during the pandemic than others, as examined in mediation and moderation models. Wang, Henry, et al. (2021) found that parents who experienced job loss had elevated parent-child conflict, which, in turn, predicted heightened negative affect on children during the pandemic. Notably, lowincome families were twice as likely to lose their jobs and therefore more vulnerable to deteriorating family relationships and later child internalizing difficulties. ...
... There is evidence that the family environment links pandemic stressors to children's levels of positive adjustment during the pandemic. One study found that parents who lost their jobs during the pandemic experienced greater parent-child conflict, which, in turn, was associated with decreased positive affect in children (Wang, Henry, et al., 2021). In contrast, parents who worked from home were more likely to demonstrate parental warmth, which sequentially predicted increased positive affect in children. ...
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Background.The COVID-19 Family Disruption Model (FDM) describes the cascading effects of pandemic-related social disruptions on child and family psychosocial functioning. The current systematic review assesses the empirical support for the model. Methods.Study eligibility: 1) children between 2–18 years (and/or their caregivers); 2) a quantitative longitudinal design; 3) published findings during the first 2.5 years of COVID-19; 4) an assessment of caregiver and/or family functioning; 5) an assessment of child internalizing, externalizing, or positive adjustment; and 6) an examination of a COVID-19 FDM pathway. Following a search of PsycINFO and MEDLINE in August 2022, screening, full-text assessments, and data extraction were completed by two reviewers. Study quality was examined using an adapted NIH risk-of- bias tool. Results.Findings from 47 studies were summarized using descriptive statistics, tables, and a narrative synthesis. There is emerging support for bidirectional pathways linking caregiver-child functioning and family-child functioning, particularly for child internalizing problems. Quality assessments indicated issues with attrition and power justification. Discussion.We provide a critical summary of the empirical support for the model, highlighting themes related to family systems theory and risk/resilience. We outline future directions for research on child and family well-being during COVID-19. Systematic review registration. PROSPERO [CRD42022327191].
... The financial, job, and housing insecurity and the deprivation of support from friends and family resulting from the pandemic have caused harm to the physical and mental health of family members, which, in turn, manifests in altered family interaction and patterns [2,4,5]. Fear and uncertainty, in addition to stress from the restrictions and constraints of daily life, have particularly affected low-income families, families from ethnic minorities, and vulnerable groups and women [6,7]. ...
... Families perceived a change, with a low mean value, in their family income. This evidence is corroborated by Camarano [2], Lebow [13], and Wang et al. [5], who stated that the important implications in family dynamics derive from changes in employment status, namely unemployment, often a consequence of the pandemic. Also, Correia [14] concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic would leave an indelible mark on individuals and families in future years, particularly in families with lower economic resources. ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic caused changes in the families’ social support network, employment status, and family income, which are the focus of attention of family health nurses. This study aims to describe the pandemic’s repercussions in the areas of attention of the structural dimension of families according to the Dynamic Model of Family Assessment and Intervention, as perceived by Portuguese families, and to relate the changes in their employment status according to the variables of the structural dimension. A quantitative, descriptive, and correlational study was conducted using snowball sampling. A questionnaire of sociodemographic characterization and assessment of the family structural dimension according to the model’s operational matrix was applied to 235 family members. Changes were found in their employment status; family income; intensity and frequency of contact with family, friends, and coworkers; frequency of contact with educational/health/religious institutions and community groups; cultural activities; and housing comfort conditions such as the use of heating/air conditioning, gas, and water consumption. Changes in employment status were related to family income, interaction with friends, frequency of cultural activities, and use of air conditioning and heating. Knowing the implications of the pandemic on the family’s structural dimension results in a nursing intervention more focused on family needs.
... Parent-child relationships were measured and assigned a value based on a 6-point warmth and invasiveness scale. Considering the dependent variable of mothers' perceptions of their warmth towards their children, it was classified into three ordinal levels (0-11, 12-19, 20-35); the dependent variable of mothers' perceptions of their invasiveness towards their children was also divided into three ordinal levels (0-12, [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]. Additionally, principal component analysis was conducted using the regression scores approach to address the multicollinearity. ...
... The frequencies of parent-child activities of reading books, looking at picture books with children, and telling stories to them significantly increased among families with young children. This phenomenon was also observed in other countries, where caregivers spent more time accompanying their children to parent-child activities [18,19,44,45]. The main reason for this positive change may be partly attributed to caregivers working from home, which could increase family time. ...
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This study explored the ambiguous characteristics and influencing factors of parental anxiety, practices, and parent–child relationships among families with young children during a sudden COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China. An online survey was conducted from 1 June to 10 November 2022, with 477 valid responses. Parental anxiety, practices, and parent–child relationships were evaluated. During this lockdown, 72.6% caregivers felt anxious about parenting to different degrees, with only a small proportion experiencing extreme anxiety. Parental anxiety was mainly influenced by whether the caregivers faced parenting issues and external parenting difficulties. The frequency of two-parent–child activities of reading books or looking at picture books with their children and telling stories to them significantly increased. Caregivers’ occupations of either professional or technical personnel and working from home were the most significant influencing factors. Mother–child relationships were relatively good. In conclusion, parental anxiety, practices, and parent–child relationships were relatively good and stable among families with young children during this lockdown. In the context of public health emergencies like COVID-19, more parenting support and knowledge should be provided to caregivers from professionals in CHCs or hospitals to decrease parental anxiety and improve parent–child relationships. Full advantage should be taken of working from home to promote parent–child activities.
... Children were asked to rate how much time they spent playing or talking with friends face-to-face, their positive and negative emotions, and their interactions with their participating parent (warmth, harsh parenting, and inconsistent parenting) over the past 12 hours on a 5-point scale ranging from "not at all" to "a lot." EMA items were adapted from the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule for Children [28], the Coronavirus Health Impact Survey [29], and from existing, single-item measures of relevant constructs [30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37]. Based on pilot testing within our research team, EMA surveys took approximately 5 minutes each to complete by both parent and child. ...
Background Intensive longitudinal data collection, including ecological momentary assessment (EMA), has the potential to reduce recall biases, collect more ecologically valid data, and increase our understanding of dynamic associations between variables. EMA is typically administered using an application that is downloaded on participants’ devices, which presents cost and privacy concerns that may limit its use. Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap), a web-based survey application freely available to nonprofit organizations, may allow researchers to overcome these barriers; however, at present, little guidance is available to researchers regarding the setup of EMA in REDCap, especially for those who are new to using REDCap or lack advanced programming expertise. Objective We provide an example of a simplified EMA setup in REDCap. This study aims to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. We provide information on survey completion and user behavior in a sample of parents and children recruited across Canada. Methods We recruited 66 parents and their children (aged 9-13 years old) from an existing longitudinal cohort study to participate in a study on risk and protective factors for children’s mental health. Parents received survey prompts (morning and evening) by email or SMS text message for 14 days, twice daily. Each survey prompt contained 2 sections, one for parents and one for children to complete. Results The completion rates were good (mean 82%, SD 8%) and significantly higher on weekdays than weekends and in dyads with girls than dyads with boys. Children were available to respond to their own survey questions most of the time (in 1134/1498, 75.7% of surveys submitted). The number of assessments submitted was significantly higher, and response times were significantly faster among participants who selected SMS text message survey notifications compared to email survey notifications. The average response time was 47.0 minutes after the initial survey notification, and the use of reminder messages increased survey completion. Conclusions Our results support the feasibility of using REDCap for EMA studies with parents and children. REDCap also has features that can accommodate EMA studies by recruiting participants across multiple time zones and providing different survey delivery methods. Offering the option of SMS text message survey notifications and reminders may be an important way to increase completion rates and the timeliness of responses. REDCap is a potentially useful tool for researchers wishing to implement EMA in settings in which cost or privacy are current barriers. Researchers should weigh these benefits with the potential limitations of REDCap and this design, including staff time to set up, monitor, and clean the data outputs of the project.
... With reference to the more subjective variables, such as emotions and experiences, we still have doubt as to whether patients reported what they perceived and experienced as individuals or, instead, as a dyad (for example, elderly couples) or a family. The role of significant relationships in ways of living and coping with the disease is well reported in the literature [45,46]. There may have been differences between those who, alone in the disease, faced it without a supporting person, and those who experienced their disease together with their family, which was also the source of the contagion. ...
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Background Several scientific contributions have summarized the “lessons learnt” during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but only a few authors have discussed what we have learnt on how to design and conduct research during a pandemic. The main intent of this study was to summarize the lessons learnt by an Italian multidisciplinary research group that developed and conducted a longitudinal study on COVID-19 patients infected during the first wave in March 2020 and followed-up for 3 years. Methods A qualitative research approach embedded into the primary CORonavirus MOnitoRing study (CORMOR) study was developed, according to the the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research. Multiple data collection strategies were performed: each member was invited to report the main lessons learnt according to his/her perspective and experience from the study design throughout its conduction. The narratives collected were summarized and discussed in face-to-face rounds. The narratives were then thematically analysed according to their main topic in a list that was resent to all members to check the content and their organization. The list of the final “lessons learnt” has been agreed by all members, as described in a detailed fashion. Results Several lessons were learnt while designing and conducting a longitudinal study during the COVID-19 pandemic and summarised into ten main themes: some are methodological, while others concern how to conduct research in pandemics/epidemics/infectious disease emergencies. Conclusions The multidisciplinary approach, which also included patients’ perspective, helped us to protect the consistency and quality of the research provided in pandemic times. The lesson learnt suggest that our research approach may benefit from changes in education, clinical practice and policies.
... IF employees' well-being and stressors are being handled within the organization, then quality performance in optimal time and growing interests will be seen. In a local study, Babore, A., et al., (2020) noted that stress levels had no significant differences with its demographic profile (age, sex, academic rank, length of service, and field); however, Wang, C., et al., (2021) reported moderate levels of stress are related to school's policies and management practices within the organization. Similarly, Cavalcanti, H. G., et al., (2021)revealed a significant difference in the stress level for personnel level but no significant differences in demographic profiles, but beliefs and practices were affected by the scores. ...
... Moreover, individual quarantine had contrary effects on individuals' psychological wellness compared to long-term pandemics, increasing anxiety and depression. Similarly, Wang et al. [75] investigated the impact of the parent's employment on the daily life of teenagers, based on the socioeconomic situation of the family in America. A negative impact on children and increase in family conflicts were evidenced, particularly for parents that lost their jobs, while a positive effect on children was evidenced for those whose parents worked from home due to the better connection between parents and their children. ...
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In the 21st century, prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous transformations were already underway in the field of employment. However, this unprecedented global health crisis has had a profound influence on employment worldwide, yielding both positive and negative outcomes across various labor aspects. Consequently, while certain effects are anticipated to be temporary, others are likely to instigate enduring changes in employment practices.
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Problematic social media use has emerged as a significant threat with adverse impacts on the mental health and well-being of individuals worldwide. The primary objective of this study is to examine the potential mediating role of family relationships, specifically characterized by family cohesion, family expressiveness, and family conflict, in the relationship between problematic social media and psychological adjustment. The study included a sample of 567 Turkish adolescents (64% girls, mean age = 15.63 ± 1.46) who completed the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale, Brief Psychological Adjustment Scale-6, and Brief Family Relationship Scale. The results revealed that problematic social media use was a significant predictor of family cohesion, family expressiveness, family conflict, and psychological adjustment. Also, family cohesion and family conflict significantly predicted psychological adjustment. Furthermore, problematic social media use had indirect effects on psychological adjustment through family cohesion and family conflict. These findings contribute to our understanding of the mediating mechanisms underlying the association between problematic social media use and psychological adjustment. The implications of these findings are relevant in tailoring interventions and implementing protective approaches to mitigate the psychological consequences of problematic social media use.
Background: Child physical abuse (PA) is a significant societal concern with limited research into predictors of re-reports. Objective: Our research explores correlations between sociodemographic variables and re-reported PA. Our aim was to characterize populations at higher risk and identify changes in presentation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants and setting: This retrospective descriptive study focused on 238 patients with re-reports of PA made by a pediatric hospital from January 2019 through April 2021. Methods: We analyzed sociodemographic information and details of reports made to child protective services (CPS) obtained from the electronic health record. Results: Females were 2.5 years older than males (mean 11.0 and 8.5 years, respectively) (p < .001, 95%CI 1.21-3.76). Males were more likely to have observable injuries (OR 2.61, p < .001) and a CPS response (OR = 2.70, p = .003). Patients categorized as "Other" races were less likely to have observable injuries (OR = 0.32, p = .006). Presentation changed during the pandemic: a quadrupling of re-reports by behavioral health clinicians caused the percentage of reports made by them to increase significantly (OR = 3.46, p < .001) and the mean age increased by 2.0 years (8.2 years before, 10.2 years during) (p = .009, 95%CI 0.5-3.5), though females remained approximately 2.2 years older than males (p = .003, 95%CI 0.8-3.7). Conclusions: Males experienced higher rates of re-reported PA and were younger at the time of re-report. Changes to presentation during the pandemic suggest an increase in PA among older children. Future research should further explore differences in sex/race, while current prevention efforts should focus on children receiving behavioral health care.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.