In March 2020, and in order to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on stress and mental health in parent-child dyads using pre-pandemic measures, we recontacted participants from a 2019 study. A total of 136 dyads of Canadian parents (77% mothers, mean age = 44.48 y/o) and children (63% girls, 77% aged 10-12 y/o and 23% aged 15-17 y/o) completed self-report measures of perceived stress, anxiety (state/sensitivity) and emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal/expressive suppression). Children additionally completed measures of co-rumination and perceived social support from friends, parents, and teachers. Results revealed a significant increase in parents’ stress and state anxiety during the pandemic compared to before, but not in their children. Dyads’ anxiety sensitivity remained unchanged, as well as parents’ use of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Children showed similar use of cognitive reappraisal, but less expressive suppression and co-rumination during the pandemic compared to before. Children reported similar perceived social support from all sources over time. Finally, parental and children scores were not significantly correlated at either time. These results suggest that during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and children responded differently in terms of stress, anxiety, and emotion regulation strategies.
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