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The immediate impact of COVID-19 school closures on the mental health and wellbeing of children and families: findings from three cross- sectional studies

Mood Disorders Centre Think Tank Seminar Series

Our guest speaker is Angeliki Kallitsoglou from the University of Roehampton

Event details


In March 2020, many countries ordered quarantine type measures including school and day care centre closures among others to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on public health. To understand the impact of school closures on child and family wellbeing a series of surveys were carried out between July and August 2020. Caregivers of children between 5 and 12 years and living in the UK (n = 995) and Turkey (n=854) completed an electronic survey on child and family wellbeing, and children’s daily habits during the lockdown. Additionally, mothers living in the UK (n = 47), who were home-schooling/caring for children while working during school closures, completed an electronic survey of open-ended questions on their personal experiences and associated emotional state. In both countries signs of poor caregiver and child mental health, and coexistence difficulty were associated with more caregiver-reported child emotional and behaviour difficulties during the lockdown as compared to before even after controlling for a wide range of sociodemographic characteristics. Worry of infection was a unique predictor of child emotional difficulties in the Turkish sample. In the UK sample, children with special educational needs (SEN) were more likely to exhibit behaviour difficulties and to spend more time using screens during the lockdown as compared to before. The association between SEN and behaviour difficulties was modulated by signs of child poor mental health. Maternal wellbeing was severely impacted by home-schooling/caring for children while working, and the gendered distribution of unpaid domestic work was instrumental in shaping quality of maternal experience during the lockdown.