Presentation (Project) Title

Factors Associated with Child Fear of Illness: Parental Management of Children’s COVID-19 Knowledge, Parenting Stress, and Parent Emotional Wellbeing

Mentor Information

Melissa Faith (Department of Psychology)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Introduction: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses a serious risk to the children’s and parents’ mental health. Studies have demonstrated some children are experiencing increased health-related anxiety associated with fear of contracting COVID-19. Yet, additional research is needed to identify parenting factors associated with children’s illness fear. This poster will examine two mediation models examining parents’ emotional wellbeing and parents’ management of children’s COVID-19 knowledge as mediators in the relations between parenting stress and child illness fear. Method: We recruited 595 parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents completed the Parenting Stress Index, Fear of Illness and Virus Evaluation, and Epidemic-Pandemic Questionnaire. Parental management of children’s COVID-19 knowledge was assessed via two items related to parents identifying trusted information sources for their children and clarifying children’s COVID-19 misinformation. Results: Both mediation models were significant as shown by the 95% bootstrapped confidence interval for the indirect effects not containing zero. Parenting stress was negatively related to parents’ emotional well-being (B=-.057, p<.001). Parents’ emotional wellbeing was negatively related to children’s COVID-19 fear (B=-1.777, p<.05). Parenting stress was negatively related to parental management of children’s COVID-19 knowledge (B =-.080, p<.001). Parental management of children’s COVID-19 knowledge was positively related to child COVID-19 fear (B=.656, p<.001). Conclusions: Mediation analyses indicated parental management of their children’s COVID-19 knowledge and parents’ emotional wellbeing mediated associations between parenting stress and children’s illness fear. Our findings may inform the development of communication-focused parenting interventions, aimed to reduce children’s COVID-19 fear by helping parents provide developmentally appropriate and accurate COVID-19 information.

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Factors Associated with Child Fear of Illness: Parental Management of Children’s COVID-19 Knowledge, Parenting Stress, and Parent Emotional Wellbeing

Introduction: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses a serious risk to the children’s and parents’ mental health. Studies have demonstrated some children are experiencing increased health-related anxiety associated with fear of contracting COVID-19. Yet, additional research is needed to identify parenting factors associated with children’s illness fear. This poster will examine two mediation models examining parents’ emotional wellbeing and parents’ management of children’s COVID-19 knowledge as mediators in the relations between parenting stress and child illness fear. Method: We recruited 595 parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents completed the Parenting Stress Index, Fear of Illness and Virus Evaluation, and Epidemic-Pandemic Questionnaire. Parental management of children’s COVID-19 knowledge was assessed via two items related to parents identifying trusted information sources for their children and clarifying children’s COVID-19 misinformation. Results: Both mediation models were significant as shown by the 95% bootstrapped confidence interval for the indirect effects not containing zero. Parenting stress was negatively related to parents’ emotional well-being (B=-.057, p<.001). Parents’ emotional wellbeing was negatively related to children’s COVID-19 fear (B=-1.777, p<.05). Parenting stress was negatively related to parental management of children’s COVID-19 knowledge (B =-.080, p<.001). Parental management of children’s COVID-19 knowledge was positively related to child COVID-19 fear (B=.656, p<.001). Conclusions: Mediation analyses indicated parental management of their children’s COVID-19 knowledge and parents’ emotional wellbeing mediated associations between parenting stress and children’s illness fear. Our findings may inform the development of communication-focused parenting interventions, aimed to reduce children’s COVID-19 fear by helping parents provide developmentally appropriate and accurate COVID-19 information.