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Background and Purpose: While impacts of the pandemic on family well-being have been documented in the literature, little is known about the psychological challenges faced by children and their parents as schools reopen after mandated closures. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if sending children back to in-person school impacts the mental health of parents and the perceived mental health of their children. Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study recruited a nationally representative, non-probability sample of parents or guardians (n = 2100) of children attending grades K-12 in the United States (U.S.) through a 58-item web-based survey. The univariate, bivariate, and multivariate statistical tests were used to analyze the data. Results: The mean scores of parental Coronavirus anxiety and Coronavirus obsession were significantly different between race/ethnic groups of parents. Parents with children going to private schools had significantly higher mean scores for Coronavirus anxiety and obsession compared to parents whose children are attending public schools. Nearly 55% of parental Coronavirus anxiety was explained by the generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, child’s vulnerability to infection, and school type of the child. Similarly, 52% of parental Coronavirus obsession was explained by the generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, child’s vulnerability to infection, and social phobia of the children. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has a substantial impact on psychological well-being of parents and their school-going children. Findings of this study will inform policy makers in developing targeted interventions to address unique needs of families with school-going children.
COVID-19; K-12; Coronavirus anxiety; Coronavirus obsession; Psychosocial impact
Epidemiology | Mental and Social Health | Public Health
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Pharr, J. R.,
Assessing Psychological Impact of COVID-19 among Parents of Children Returning to K-12 Schools: A U.S. Based Cross-Sectional Survey.