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Changes in parents’ mental health symptoms and stressors (Jan 2021)

Key findings

Based on average scores for parent/carer report within the Co-SPACE sample:

  • Parental stress and depression were elevated during the first lockdown (when most children were home-schooled) and reduced when the lockdown restrictions eased in the summer.
  • However, parental stress, depression, and anxiety increased between November and December (when new national restrictions were introduced).
  • Parents/carers from certain households have been particularly vulnerable to elevated mental health symptoms, with higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety reported by parents from single adult households and low-income families, as well as those who have children with SEN/ND.
  • Parents who had any young children (10 years or younger) living in the home reported particularly high levels of stress symptoms during the first lockdown and around a third (36%) of them were stressed about their children’s behaviour at that time (in contrast to 28% of those with older children only).
  • Parents who had older children only (11 years or older) reported more depression symptoms, especially during the summer. On average, 43% were stressed about their children’s education and future (in contrast to 32% of those with young children).