Perceived Stress, Parental Stress, and Parenting During COVID-19 Lockdown: A Preliminary Study
Background: The outbreak of COVID-19 is a global public health emergency with multifaceted consequences for people’s lives and their mental health. Parenting in the time of COVID-19 can be demanding as parents now find themselves in a challenging situation with young, energetic children locked down within the house. However, this issue is not systematically studied.
Aim: The present study examined the stress experienced by parents during COVID-19 lockdown.
Methods: The study was cross-sectional in nature using the online survey method conducted in the month of April 2020. Parents were sent a survey link and were requested to fill the self-designed questionnaire, Parental Stress Scale and Perceived Stress Scale. A total of 227 parents filled in the forms, out of which 196 were complete.
Results: Majority of the parents reported moderate (63%) to high (4%) perceived stress since the COVID-19 lockdown, 37% reported feeling more stressed as a parent after the lockdown, and 8% of the parents said they needed to talk to a counsellor/psychologist. Mothers, parent of children with developmental disorders, and parents who had interpersonal difficulties with spouse and children had significantly higher perceived stress and parental stress compared to parents without these difficulties. Both perceived stress and parental stress were significantly associated with shouting, yelling or screaming, spanking or slapping the child, preoccupation with worries, and difficulty in focusing on parenting and disciplining the child, and excessive time on TV or video games in children.
Conclusions: The results offer preliminary data-based insight into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families in India.