The COVID-19 pandemic and associated government-mandated shutdowns disrupted schooling, socialization, and family life for school-aged children during spring 2020. These disruptions may have contributed to increased child behavior problems. Thus, we examined behavior problems in 247 children aged 7 to 9 years during Ohio’s shutdown period. We investigated whether differences in parent-reported child behavior problems were associated with concurrent parent distress during spring 2020 and/or children’s social-emotional skills measured via teacher-reports from the previous year (spring 2019). Parent distress significantly predicted behavior problems, such that more distressed parents also reported more child behavior problems. Child pre-pandemic peer social skills also significantly predicted behavior problems, such that more skilled children exhibited fewer behavior problems. There were no interaction effects between parent distress and children’s social-emotional skills on child behavior problems. Further research is needed to understand how children’s social-emotional skills impact their ability to cope during times of epidemiological crisis.

Fuente: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Available online 14 December 2021, 101375