How Coronavirus induces stress, impacts families’ mental, physical well-being, says Study

*Pandemic affecting well-being, everything from kids’ behaviour to parents having enough healthy, affordable food to put on the table

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As part of the far-reaching health implications of the disruptive Coronavirus disease, several recent studies have highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened stress levels for families.

Report says researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, a private, coeducational institution of higher learning regarded as “a prominent research and teaching institution” located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States (US) are exploring how this stress is affecting the mental and physical health of parents and their kids as of now.

The study findings revealed that the pandemic has had a negative impact on families’ physical and emotional well-being, affecting everything from kids’ behaviour to parents having enough healthy, affordable food to put on the table.

Researcher Dr. Stephen Patrick said: “COVID-19 and measures to control its spread have had a substantial effect on the nation’s children.

“Today, an increasing number of the nation’s children are going hungry, losing employer-sponsored insurance, and their regular childcare.

“The situation is urgent and requires immediate attention from federal and state policymakers.”

The study specifically investigated how the structural changes resulting from the pandemic are leading to mounting stress in human families.

The researchers surveyed families across the country to get a deeper understanding of how families have been affected both mentally and physically by the pandemic.

They answered questions about how they handle childcare, their health ─ both physical and mental ─ food insecurity, and health insurance, report stated.

It was learnt that the biggest takeaway from this study is that families nationwide are in need of support in several areas, including better physical and mental health services that are equipped to handle families during these perilous times.

The findings indicated that food insecurity spiked in the months since the pandemic hit. According to the study, not having enough quality food is cause for concern at any time of year, but since day-to-day life has become more precarious, even more families are struggling to get healthy, affordable meals to their kids.

Just about one-quarter of all parents that were surveyed lost childcare since the start of the pandemic; another 15 percent of parents reported worsening behaviour for their young ones since they’ve been home.

The researchers believe these two factors are related because losing a regular babysitter or time spent in daycare affects how kids socialise and play.

Extra time at home, away from other kids, can rub off on how young ones behave with their parents and siblings.

Likewise, mental health of individuals and families were said to have been hit by the ravaging Coronavirus stress.

The study findings also suggest that mental health has worsened during the pandemic, with nearly 30 percent of parents reporting poorer emotional regulation.

Mothers were hit the hardest by these mental health struggles, as were parents of younger kids.

Overall, the researchers are worried about how the pandemic has affected both parents and children, and these findings emphasise just how difficult this time has been for families.

Researcher Dr. Matthew M. Davis said: “The loss of regular childcare related to COVID-19 has been a major shock to families.

“In almost half of all cases where parents said that their own mental health had worsened and that their children’s behaviour had worsened during the pandemic, they had lost their usual childcare arrangements.

“We need to be aware of these types of stressors for families, which extend far beyond COVID-19 as an infection or an illness.”

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