June 25, 2024
The Unseen Impact of Economic Insecurity on Children's Mental Health Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Unseen Impact of Economic Insecurity on Children’s Mental Health Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

The economic instability brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a series of interconnected issues for some families, ultimately resulting in negative impacts on their children’s mental health, a recent study suggests.

Researchers from The Ohio State University discovered that economic insecurity was linked to increased depressive symptoms among parents. These symptoms, in turn, were associated with poorer relationship quality between couples. The strained relationships then led to more harsh parenting practices and, ultimately, increased internalizing behaviors in children.

The pandemic’s economic hardships had a ripple effect that extended to children’s mental health, explained Joyce Lee, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of social work at The Ohio State University.

These findings align with other research indicating that children’s mental health deteriorated significantly during the pandemic.

The study, which was published online last week in the journal Child & Family Social Work, surveyed 259 parents raising one or more children aged 12 years or younger who reported experiencing at least one pandemic-related economic hardship. Participants were from various parts of the country and the study was conducted during the early weeks of the pandemic.

One of the study’s strengths was its inclusion of families with lower incomes, as 31% of the families surveyed had a parental income below $30,000.

Parents were asked to report on their depressive symptoms, relationship quality, and harsh parenting practices. They also provided information on their children’s internalizing behaviors, such as excessive complaining, crying, and fearfulness or anxiety.

The researchers identified a clear link between these issues, Lee stated.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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