Results of a study by the Co-SPACE Iran Study show that parents could be a source of stress for children during the coronavirus pandemic.

Iran PressIran news: COVID-19 pandemic has caused major challenges and disruptions to the lives of children, adolescents, and their parents, through home confinements, social distancing orders, and school closures, all of which threaten the physical and mental health of children and their families.
Researchers at the University of Tehran have explored the impact of COVID-19-related restrictions and home confinements on the mental health of children and adolescents. The study, entitled Co-SPACE Iran (COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children during Epidemics) is led by Mohsen Rajabi and a team of researchers which is linked to the Co-SPACE Study designed by the University of Oxford.

This report provides cross-sectional data from 1,100 parents who have taken part and completed the survey between April and June 2020. This report focuses on how families are coping during the pandemic, what supports children’s mental health, and what parents or carers can do to support their children’s mental health at this time.
Key findings of this study highlighted that most of the parents reported that their child thought that COVID-19 is a very serious issue. Nearly a third of parents reported that their child is worried about missing school and afraid to leave the house during the pandemic. Around 40% of children and adolescents with special educational needs and neurodevelopmental disorders are struggling with cognitive and learning problems followed by communicating and interacting needs.
A child’s wellbeing is the most frequent source of stress for Iranian parents, followed by their child’s future. Parents also stated that around two-thirds of those who were previously receiving support from services have had this stopped or postponed during the pandemic. In this study, parents and carers of children aged 4 to 18 reported that they want support around their child’s behavioral problems, child’s emotional wellbeing, and educational demands during the pandemic. Parents of children with special educational needs and neurodevelopmental disorders would also like support around managing their child’s behavior and emotional wellbeing. Parents would value online written materials and TV programs, while parents with children with special educational needs would also like online support from professionals which indicates how much it is necessary to support families with children living with special needs.
Overall, this study demonstrates that COVID-19 is affecting the routine life and well-being of children and their families. Additional research is needed, however, to assess the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on children’s and parent's overall wellness and COVID-19 needs. Together, these results suggest that parents and caregivers might benefit from tailored educational and mental health services during the outbreak and school closure in Iran. For caregivers, and especially individuals with dual responsibilities of parenting while also caring for adults, increasing access to and use of support groups and respite services might help to alleviate the caregiving workload and COVID-19 worries and stress.
It should be also mentioned that parents’ COVID-related worries and well-being may be affected by their children’s stress and educational challenges during the school closures. Encourage parents to seek an evaluation for their children if they have any concerns about their children’s emotional/behavioral difficulties and educational issues. Early identification of these difficulties may prevent long-term mental health and educational consequences from this COVID-19 pandemic.

Research by Co-SPACE Iran: Mohsen Rajabi
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


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