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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-35

Parental Stress and Parenting during COVID-19 Pandemic in Pakistan

1 Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, Mayo Hospital, King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan
2 Department of Medicine, Mayo Hospital, King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan
3 Psychiatry Department, University of Warwick, Coventry, England, UK
4 Department of Psychiatry, Sidra Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, Doha, Qatar

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nazish Imran
Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, Mayo Hospital, King Edward Medical University, Lahore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_73_20

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Objectives: As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, parents are being presented with new challenges to meet their children needs. We investigated parental stress and its impact on their parenting practices during COVID-19 outbreak in Lahore, Pakistan. Methods: Following ethical approval, using web-based cross-sectional survey, data were collected in April 2020–May 2020. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed among parents by the patient health questionnaire and generalized anxiety disorder scale. Respondents also reported on parenting practices and emotional and behavior changes noticed in their children. Results: Three hundred and fifty-five parents participated in the survey with a mean age of 35.3 years (standard deviation = 8.2) with 55% having at least one child between the ages of 1 and 5 years and 9% had children with special needs. The prevalence of depressive symptoms and anxiety was 25.6% and 21.6%, respectively. A significant proportion (77%) of parents were concerned about the outbreak fearing about family/self-being infected, losing love ones, and financial difficulties. Fifty percent of participants reported more than usual use of consequences (shouting at children, taking privileges away, and slapping child) in the past 1 month. However, the positive impact of parents spending more time with their children was also reported. Unhealthy eating and sleeping patterns (24.5%), irritability (21.1%), anxiety (16.3%), and aggression (14.6%) were the most common behavior and emotional problems noticed in children. Conclusions: Parental stress observed during COVID-19 outbreak can adversely impact the parenting practices and child's mental health. Provision of effective strategies to support parents to care for children is urgently needed.

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