Guimond F-A, Smith J, Vitoroulis I, Aucoin P, St. John E, Gardam O, MacLachlan M. (2021). The role of online schooling, screen-based activities, and parent coping in Canadian children's COVID-19- related trauma and anxiety symptoms. Psychiatry International. 2(2): 180-190.
This study investigated the effects of online schooling and screen-based activities on Canadian children’s COVID-19-related trauma and generalized anxiety symptoms and how parents’ coping strategies influenced these associations. The participants were 121 Canadian children aged from 7 to 12. Parents were asked to report on their children’s school attendance, screen-based activities, and trauma and generalized anxiety symptoms, as well as their own coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online schooling was associated with less trauma and generalized anxiety symptoms in children than school non-attendance. Screen-based activities were not directly associated with children’s trauma and anxiety symptoms, but the way parents coped with pandemic stressors moderated these associations. Parents’ active and adaptive coping strategies mitigated the effects of school non-attendance and increased screen-based activity use on children’s COVID-19-related symptoms. The findings not only highlight the detrimental effects of complete school closures, but they also underscore the importance of better equipping parents to cope with pandemic stressors. The findings also suggest that virtual school attendance might have similar benefits to in-person attendance, as it appears to protect against adverse mental health outcomes.