Child Disruptions, Remote Learning, and Parent Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Stephanie Deeb, Devin Madden, Timnit Ghebretinsae, Joyce Lin, Umut Ozbek, Victoria Mayer, Nita Vangeepuram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


New York City (NYC) was an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in broad economic, social, and emotional consequences in the lives of individuals. The current study examined associations between pandemic-related stressors and adverse mental health symptoms among NYC parents/caregivers. Community-based participatory research was used to develop a survey, and logistic regression models were utilized to assess associations between factors including disruptions in child routines and remote learning, and parent-reported symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some 91.0% of parents reported stress and 41.2, 26.6, and 33.7% reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD, respectively. Most parents (87.6%) reported cancellation of at least one child activity. Of the parents, 60.3% reported that their children participated in remote learning and the majority (70.3%) reported feeling overwhelmed by it. Having more cancelled child activities was associated with higher odds of reported mental health symptoms, with not being able to play outside associated with higher odds of anxiety (1.80 (1.26, 2.58), p = 0.001), depression (1.93 (1.29, 2.91), p = 0.002), PTSD (1.64 (1.13, 2.39), p = 0.009), and stress (2.34 (1.27, 4.44), p = 0.008). Feeling overwhelmed by remote learning was also associated with higher odds of all four outcomes. Pre-existing mental illness, lower resilience scores, and lower socioeconomic status emerged as additional factors associated with symptoms of mental illness. These findings highlight the importance of resources to minimize adverse psychological effects among vulnerable families.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6442
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • COVID-19
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • distance
  • education
  • mental health
  • parents
  • post-traumatic
  • stress disorders
  • trauma and stressor-related disorders


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