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Changes in UK Parental Mental Health Symptoms over 10 months of the COVID-19 Pandemic

This longitudinal analysis of Co-SPACE and Co-SPYCE data examined changes in stress, depression, and anxiety of 5576 parents/carers of 2-17-year-old children between April 2020 and January 2021. Some key findings include:

  • Parental stress and depression, but not anxiety, were higher during periods of restrictions. This pattern was most pronounced for parents with primary-school-aged children, those that worked at home or had other adults in the household.
  • Being younger, reporting secondary or below education, working out of home, having secondary-school-aged children or children with special education needs (SEN)/neurodevelopmental disorders (ND) further moderated whether, how and when parental mental health symptoms changed.
  • Although around three quarters of parents reported consistently low mental health symptoms, a substantial minority reported consistently high or increasing symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. The latter were more likely to be parents who were younger than average, were a single adult in the household, had a pre-existing mental health diagnosis or had a child with SEN or ND.

The full paper is available to read and download here.