Soc Sci Med. 2023 Oct 7;337:116298. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116298. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined several factors affecting the perception of Canadian parents about their children’s mental health during COVID-19. The contribution of this research included fresh evidence from examining the demographic and sociological factors influencing children’s well-being during COVID-19 using the Canadian context.
METHODS: We used a cross-sectional dataset from Statistics Canada titled Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians – Parenting during the Pandemic (2020). We relied on an ordered logit model and computed the respective odds ratios.
RESULTS: Our results showed that parents with a university degree and those working from home are less concerned about their children’s mental health. Nonetheless, having a disabled child, belonging to a minority, having children aged six-to fourteen-years old, and having lost a job or experienced a drop in working hours increased parents’ worry. Additionally, having worries about being connected with family and friends, being concerned about work-life balance, feeling lonely at home, and waiting for the reopening of childcare services all increased the likelihood of parents’ anxiety about their child’s mental health. When running the analysis by province, we saw that being an immigrant and belonging to a minority increased parents’ worry only in Ontario and British Columbia.
CONCLUSIONS: Policymakers are encouraged to foster working-from-home practices as working from home has been linked to less worry about child mental health, mainly among mothers, as indicated in our gender heterogeneity analysis. In addition, it is advised that families with a disabled child, and families belonging to a minority received additional support. Lastly, policymakers are advised to consider the social cost of preventive measures and incorporate this into any future preventative policymaking as the social impact variables were robust across all models.