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Parenting During Adolescence as a Moderator of Links Between COVID-19 Disruption and Reported Changes in Parents’ and Young Adults’ Adjustment in Five Countries

Wed, April 7, 1:10 to 2:40pm EDT (1:10 to 2:40pm EDT), Virtual


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented families around the world with extraordinary challenges related to physical and mental health, economic security, social support, and education. This study capitalizes on a longitudinal, cross-national study of parenting and adolescent development to investigate the protective effects of elements of family functioning present during adolescence, and mother, father, and youth responses three years later about their experiences during the pandemic.
Study Population
Data were collected from 484 families in five countries (Italy, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States) with reports from mothers, fathers, and adolescents. Data were collected when youths were approximately 17 (Time 1) and 20 (Time 2) years old.
At Time 1, trained interviewers facilitated oral, written, or online interviews in participants’ homes or community locations, and participants were interviewed separately to maintain confidentiality among family members. We collected parent and youth reports of parental monitoring, youth reports of disclosure and supportive parenting, and parent reports of destructive conflict. At Time 2, interviews were conducted online or by telephone due to COVID-19 restrictions. Parents and youths completed a short measure of experiences related to COVID-19, including perceived level of personal disruption, confidence in government response to the pandemic, and questions about changes in internalizing and externalizing behaviors now as compared to before the COVID-19 outbreak.
We examined three research questions:
1. At Time 2, is the level of personal disruption associated with self-reported changes in internalizing and externalizing behaviors for mothers, fathers, and youths?
2. At Time 2, is the level of confidence in the government response to the pandemic associated with self-reported changes in internalizing and externalizing behaviors for mothers, fathers, and youths?
3. Do higher levels of parental monitoring, youth disclosure, and supportive parenting, and lower levels of destructive conflict during adolescence (Time 1) moderate the Time 2 associations between pandemic disruption and changes in adjustment for mothers, fathers, and youths?
A multigroup path analyses revealed that higher levels of reported disruption during the pandemic are related to increases in internalizing and externalizing behavior after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic for mothers, fathers, and young adults in all five countries with the exception of two associations in Thailand. Confidence in the government’s response was not consistently related to changes in adjustment. Parental monitoring, youth disclosure, and lower levels of destructive parent-adolescent conflict reported by mothers, fathers, and adolescents three years prior to the pandemic buffered the association between disruption during the pandemic and reported changes in internalizing (Figure 1) and externalizing behaviors (Figure 2) in youths and mothers in all countries with two site-specific exceptions. No significant moderation effects were found for father adjustment.