Dubois-Comtois K, *Suffren S, St-Laurent D, Milot T, Lemelin J-P. (2021). Child Psychological Functioning During the COVID-19 Lockdown: An Ecological, Family-Centered Approach. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 42(7): 532–539.
Objective : To evaluate how sociodemographic characteristics and various aspects of parent well-being, family functioning, parent-child relationship, and child characteristics are related to psychological functioning in children aged 9 to 12 years during the COVID-19 lockdown. Method : Participants included 144 children aged 9 to 12 years and their parents who lived in the province of Quebec, Canada, during the COVID-19 mandatory lockdown. Parents and children were administered a phone-based survey in which various child, parent, parent-child, and family characteristics were assessed. Results : Results showed that higher internalizing problems in children were related to greater depressive symptoms in parents, lower attachment security to parents, and greater aversion to aloneness in children. Results on externalizing behavior problems showed that more problems were associated with more family dysfunction and chaos and lower attachment security to parents. Finally, results on children’s anxiety toward COVID-19 showed that more anxiety was associated with greater parental anxiety toward COVID-19 and more child aversion to aloneness. Conclusion : Our findings showed that even during an unusual and stressful context such as a pandemic, proximal variables such as the attachment relationship that have been known to be closely associated with adaptation are significantly related to child psychological functioning. Such observations are important because they highlight factors that may accentuate child vulnerability in times of a pandemic and shed light on potential intervention targets.