‘Working’ during Covid-19 cited as most frequent source of stress for parents

A new report has identified that working during Covid-19 is the most frequent source of stress for parents followed by their children’s wellbeing.

5,000 responses to the Co-SPACE survey (Covid-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents and Children in Epidemics) led by experts at the University of Oxford, has identified work as the most frequent source of stress with their children’s wellbeing and education closely following.

Additionally, parents who have children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) report even higher levels of stress.

Social services support for 80% families has been stopped or postponed according to the survey data, which exacerbates the challenges.

Professor Cathy Creswell, Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, said:

“This study is so important to understand the experiences of families currently and how this crisis is impacting on them, but also so we can know how best to support families going forward.

“Our results are showing some hotspots of concern, particularly for parents of children with special education needs and neurodevelopmental disorders.

“These parents report increased stress across all areas, including managing their children’s behaviour, they also express a desire for personalised support from professionals.”

Also, from the report:

Parents want support around their children’s emotional wellbeing, education and emerging from social isolation.

Almost 50% of parents thought their child was concerned about family or friends catching the virus.

Around 33% of parents thought their child was worried about missing school.

According to the University of Oxford:

‘The Co-SPACE survey aims to track children and young people’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

‘Survey results will help researchers identify what protects children and young people from deteriorating mental health, over time, and at particular stress points, and how this may vary according to child and family characteristics.

‘It also aims to identify what advice, support and help parents would find most useful.’

‘Parents/carers are invited to complete an online longitudinal questionnaire monthly until social distancing measures end.

‘The first survey takes about 15-20 minutes, and subsequent surveys about 10 minutes.’

The questions relate to family life, relationships, overall health and wellbeing, parenting, psychological symptoms and how they are coping during Covid-19.

Parents can also give permission for those aged 11-16 to take part in the survey.

To take part in the survey, visit the Co-SPACE Website