Economic Insecurity in Families Harms Child Mental Health

Mirage News posted this article on new research showing the links between family financial struggles and parents’ and children’s mental health: 

Economic difficulty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to a cascade of connected problems for some parents – resulting in mental health problems for their children, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that economic insecurity was linked to higher levels of depressive symptoms for parents, which was then associated with poorer relationship quality for the couples. That was linked with more harsh parenting and then to increased internalizing behaviors for their children.

‘Pandemic-induced economic hardship had this downstream spillover effect that was ultimately linked negatively with their children’s mental health,’ said Joyce Lee, lead author of the study and assistant professor of social work at The Ohio State University.

“Our findings parallel with other descriptive research showing that children’s mental health plummeted during the pandemic.”

The study was published online last week in the journal Child & Family Social Work.

The study involved 259 parents raising one or more children ages 12 years or younger who said they experienced at least one pandemic-related economic hardship. The longitudinal survey, which included participants from across the country, focused on two different points during the early weeks of the pandemic.

One of the strengths of this research is that it didn’t just include middle-income families – in 31% of the families studied, the parents’ income was below $30,000.”

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