Since the initiation of the COVID-19 lockdown, Italian parents have been forced to manage their children at home. The present study aimed at investigating the psychological distress of parents during the lockdown, identifying contributing factors. An online survey was administered to 833 participants from 3 to 15 April 2020. Mediation and moderated mediation models were run to explore the association between parent neuroticism and parent distress, mediated by child hyperactivity-inattention and child emotional symptoms, and the moderating effect of living only with child(ren) on the direct and indirect effects of parent neuroticism on parent distress. For parents living only with child(ren), high levels of psychological distress depended exclusively on their levels of neuroticism. For parents living with at least one other person in addition to child(ren), distress levels were also mediated by child behavioral and emotional difficulties. Motherhood emerged as a significant factor contributing to greater distress. Furthermore, parent psychological distress decreased in line with increased child age. The results confirm that neuroticism is an important risk factor for mental health. Preventive measures should be primarily target multicomponent families with younger children and directed towards parents who are already known to present emotional instability and to parents of children who have received local mental health assistance for behavioral and/or emotional difficulties.

How personality relates to distress in parents during the COVID-19 lockdown: The mediating role of child’s emotional and behavioral difficulties and the moderating effect of living with other people

Mazza C.;Marchetti D.;Fontanesi L.;Verrocchio M. C.
;
Roma P.
2020

Abstract

Since the initiation of the COVID-19 lockdown, Italian parents have been forced to manage their children at home. The present study aimed at investigating the psychological distress of parents during the lockdown, identifying contributing factors. An online survey was administered to 833 participants from 3 to 15 April 2020. Mediation and moderated mediation models were run to explore the association between parent neuroticism and parent distress, mediated by child hyperactivity-inattention and child emotional symptoms, and the moderating effect of living only with child(ren) on the direct and indirect effects of parent neuroticism on parent distress. For parents living only with child(ren), high levels of psychological distress depended exclusively on their levels of neuroticism. For parents living with at least one other person in addition to child(ren), distress levels were also mediated by child behavioral and emotional difficulties. Motherhood emerged as a significant factor contributing to greater distress. Furthermore, parent psychological distress decreased in line with increased child age. The results confirm that neuroticism is an important risk factor for mental health. Preventive measures should be primarily target multicomponent families with younger children and directed towards parents who are already known to present emotional instability and to parents of children who have received local mental health assistance for behavioral and/or emotional difficulties.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/730957
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