The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown have dramatically impacted families’ life, raising serious concerns about children’s emotional wellbeing. However, few studies have investigated whether the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on psychological adjustment in youngest can be moderated by maternal mood and, to our knowledge, none of them has adopted a longitudinal design. The main aim of the current study was to explore if the intensity and directionality of maternal mood symptoms moderated the trajectory of emotional and behavioural problems in Italian pre-schoolers from pre- to during the lockdown adopting a longitudinal design. To assess maternal anxiety and depression symptoms, the EPDS and the STAI-Y were filled in by 94 and 88 women before the lockdown, when their children were 1 (Wave P1) and 3 years old (Wave P2), respectively, and by 74 women during the lockdown, when their children were 4 years old (Wave L). Mothers also filled in the CBCL/1 ½–5 to assess their children’s emotional and behavioural problems at each assessment wave. As a whole, children’s emotional and behavioural problems significantly increased from pre- to during the lockdown. Furthermore, maternal mood moderated this trajectory. In particular, greater maternal mood symptoms were significantly associated with a greater increase in emotional reactive, anxious-depressed, withdrawn and aggressive symptoms during the lockdown. These results contribute to shed light on the role played by maternal emotional wellbeing in buffering the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on children’s behavioural development. Albeit preliminary, the current findings highlight the need to provide timely psychological interventions to distressed mothers to help their children to better cope with the effects of the pandemic.

Maternal mood moderates the trajectory of emotional and behavioural problems from pre- to during the COVID-19 lockdown in preschool children

Nazzari S.
2022

Abstract

The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown have dramatically impacted families’ life, raising serious concerns about children’s emotional wellbeing. However, few studies have investigated whether the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on psychological adjustment in youngest can be moderated by maternal mood and, to our knowledge, none of them has adopted a longitudinal design. The main aim of the current study was to explore if the intensity and directionality of maternal mood symptoms moderated the trajectory of emotional and behavioural problems in Italian pre-schoolers from pre- to during the lockdown adopting a longitudinal design. To assess maternal anxiety and depression symptoms, the EPDS and the STAI-Y were filled in by 94 and 88 women before the lockdown, when their children were 1 (Wave P1) and 3 years old (Wave P2), respectively, and by 74 women during the lockdown, when their children were 4 years old (Wave L). Mothers also filled in the CBCL/1 ½–5 to assess their children’s emotional and behavioural problems at each assessment wave. As a whole, children’s emotional and behavioural problems significantly increased from pre- to during the lockdown. Furthermore, maternal mood moderated this trajectory. In particular, greater maternal mood symptoms were significantly associated with a greater increase in emotional reactive, anxious-depressed, withdrawn and aggressive symptoms during the lockdown. These results contribute to shed light on the role played by maternal emotional wellbeing in buffering the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on children’s behavioural development. Albeit preliminary, the current findings highlight the need to provide timely psychological interventions to distressed mothers to help their children to better cope with the effects of the pandemic.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1460775
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