Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Oral Session VI: Parenting and Early Child Development During the Pandemic: A Diary Study
Wednesday, 24/Nov/2021:
3:45pm - 4:00pm

Session Chair: Corina Wustmann Seiler, P├Ądagogische Hochschule Z├╝rich
Location: Room 251 | 252


Parenting and Early Child Development During the Pandemic: A Diary Study

Tilman Reinelt, Clarissa Frey, Rebecca Oertel, Debora Suppiger, Giancarlo Natalucci

University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

Objective. While several research projects and political discussions addressed potential effects of interventions to control the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., social distancing) on school-aged children, research on families with infants or toddlers is scarce. However, as social support has a critical role especially during the transition to parenthood, a reduced social support due to social distancing could elevate parental stress levels and in turn impair child regulatory behavior. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate associations of COVID-related stress, social support, parenting behavior, and child behavior. It is hypothesized that children of parents, who are more burdened by COVID-19, demonstrate more regulatory problems, particularly if parental social support is low.

Method. Families with children younger than 30 months were recruited in spring 2021 via the University Hospital Zurich and social media. Recruitment is still ongoing. Currently, N = 343 families participated in a cross-sectional survey and N = 123 families participated in a subsequent 10-day diary study. In the survey, parents reported on how they dealt with demands due to the pandemic, social support, parental investment, and child regulation. In the diary, parents reported on their daily affect, child regulation, temperament, soothing strategies and (if children were older than 18 months) parental co-regulation.

Planned Analyses. On a cross-sectional level, we plan to analyze how experiencing and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is related to child regulatory problems and parental investment and whether these associations are mediated by social support. Regarding diary data, we will analyze whether daily variations in child behavior are related to daily variations in parenting behavior and whether these associations differ regarding the experience of the pandemic. All analyses will account for different ages of the child.