23-09-2021 | Original Paper
Mediation of Mothers’ Anxiety and Parenting in Children’s Behavior Problems during COVID-19
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies | Uitgave 11/2021Log in om toegang te krijgen
The outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting the lives of millions of families around the world. The current study was carried out in Israel, following the pandemic’s initial outbreak and during the resulting enforced quarantine, confining parents and children to their homes. A sample of 141 Israeli mothers with at least one child between the ages of 3 and 12 (M = 6.92, SD = 2.55) participated as volunteers. About half the sample (50.7%) consisted of girls. Most mothers were cohabiting with a spouse (93%). Mothers completed online questionnaires about their perceptions about the health and economic threats of COVID-19, availability of social support, their anxiety symptoms, hostile/coercive and supportive/engaged parenting behavior, and their children’s behavior problems. Results showed expected significant associations between the mothers’ reports about having little social support, their anxiety symptoms, hostile/coercive and supportive/engaged parenting behavior, and children’s externalizing problems. Likewise, expected significant associations were found between mothers’ perceptions about the health and economic threats of COVID-19, their anxiety symptoms, hostile/coercive parenting behavior, and children’s internalizing and externalizing problems. Importantly, maternal anxiety and hostile/coercive parenting behavior mediated the associations between lack of support, negative perceptions about the health and economic threats of COVID-19, and children’s behavior problems. These findings stress the importance of mothers’ mental health and parenting behaviors for children’s socioemotional adaptation in the context of COVID-19. Implications of the findings for family interventions intended to help parents and children at this time are suggested.