Parenting Across Cultures: COVID-19

Project Description

This project builds on the ongoing Parenting Across Cultures (PAC) longitudinal study that began in 2008 with recruitment of a sample of 1,417 8-year-old children and their mothers and fathers from nine countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States). We have assessed families annually through interviews with mothers, fathers, and children about the parent-child relationship, the child’s development, and cultural values. At ages 10, 13, and 16, we administered a computerized battery to measure children’s reward-seeking, self-regulation, and social information processing, as well as risk-taking behavior.

During the period of this supplement to the PAC project, the original child participants are 20 to 21 years old, a crucial period for understanding family and cultural influences on decisions, risks, competencies, and opportunities. In the ongoing longitudinal study, we conduct interviews annually with young adults and their parents to assess health-compromising and risky behaviors as well as competencies in important domains of education, work, and intimate partnerships. With this supplement, we added COVID-19-related questions to the annual interview battery and administered a briefer COVID-19-focused measure at three additional time points each year to assess behavioral and emotional functioning in relation to the rapidly-evolving situation in each country’s response to the pandemic.

Together the eight international sites plus the United States offer the potential to advance understanding of social, psychological, behavioral, and economic predictors of responses to COVID-19; social, psychological, behavioral, and economic outcomes related to COVID-19 containment and mitigation efforts; and moderators of risk and resiliency in the face of diverse social determinants of health. This new understanding will inform future public health responses that have the potential to improve population health and well-being in the face of a global pandemic.

Project Goals

Aim 1: Predictors: We test the hypothesis that social (e.g., parent-child relationship quality), psychological (e.g., anxiety), behavioral (e.g., risky or antisocial behavior), and economic (e.g., not having enough money to pay for basic living expenses) factors assessed prior to the pandemic predict competence and maladaptation (e.g., depression, alcohol and other substance use, marital and family conflict) during and after the pandemic.

Aim 2: Outcomes: We test the hypothesis that experiences during the pandemic (personal disruptions and changes in behaviors) predict social, psychological, behavioral, and economic outcomes following the pandemic.

Aim 3: Moderators: We test the hypothesis that individuals’ confidence that that government and health system are handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the best possible manner and individuals’ optimism regarding the future resolution of the pandemic moderate associations between risk factors prior to the pandemic and competence and maladaptation during the pandemic and its aftermath.

Project Findings

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