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The Impact of the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Parents of Children with Externalising Difficulties in Ireland: A Longitudinal Cohort Study
  • Anna Berry,
  • Tom Burke,
  • Alan Carr
Anna Berry
University College Dublin
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Tom Burke
University College Dublin
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Alan Carr
University College Dublin
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Abstract

Background: This longitudinal cohort study aimed to examine the impact of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland on parents of children with externalising difficulties, in comparison to parents of children without such difficulties. Method: Parents of 159 children completed online self-report measures at three time points during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic; 1) Delay and Mitigation Phase (March 2020 - May 2020), 2) Reopening of Society Phase (June 2020 – July 2020), and 3) Wave 2 Case Acceleration Phase (September 2020 - October 2020). Participants were allocated to the Clinical group if they met the clinical cut off point on the Conduct or Hyperactivity/Inattention subscales of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire at Time 1. Results: Parents of children with externalising difficulties experienced significantly higher levels of stress, lower levels of wellbeing, and engaged in higher levels of avoidant-focused coping strategies longitudinally. There was a significant difference between outcomes at the different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, for stress related to parenting, personal/family stress related to the impact of the COVID-19, and type of coping strategies employed. Children with externalising difficulties, in comparison to children without externalising difficulties, showed significantly greater adjustment over time for behavioural and emotional difficulties. Conclusions: Results provide important information regarding the trajectory of psychological outcomes in parents of children with externalising difficulties over the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the need for increased parental supports during, and after, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

03 May 2021Submitted to International Journal of Clinical Practice
03 May 2021Assigned to Editor
03 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
05 May 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
02 Jun 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
16 Jun 20211st Revision Received