Analyzing the effects of confinement in Galician children: new contributions from the CONFIA-20 study

The second publication resulting from the CONFIA-20 study (Effects of Confinement on Family and Children) conducted by the UNDERISK research group has just seen light. On April 2020, through an online data collection, the 1123 participating families -mostly Galician- provided information on the behavioral, emotional and psychosocial adjustment of their 3 to 12-year-old children, during the acute phase of the first pandemic wave in Spain.

The named article, entitled “ Children Coping, Contextual Risk and their Interplay during the COVID-19 Pandemic: a Spanish Case”, has been published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, as part of a monographic aimed to  better understand the psychosocial, behavioral and interpersonal effects of the worldwide crisis.

This work provides and important and unique contribution to the field by examining how children coping, unique contextual conditions and parent coping, might contribute to the children psychosocial adjustment during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. Importantly, in this work, not only a wide range of child adjustment indicators were examined (e.g., routine maintenance, social bonding and behavioral problems), but also a developmental sensitive perspective was adopted. That is, child age, was considered to be an essential factor for the understanding of the potential differences in the adaptation processes.

Overall, our results show: 1) differences in the use of certain coping strategies in children of different ages, 2) a consistent associations between disengagement coping and behavioral and emotional difficulties, 3) a moderator effect of certain parental factors (e.g., fear of the future or trait resilience) on the specific coping to predict different outcomes and 4) the existence of age-dependent effects.

The implications of these findings, from a preventive perspective, are noteworthy. First, they might be useful for the identification of individual (e.g., potentially maladaptive coping responses by children and their parents) and contextual risk (e.g., families with a perception a significant negative impact of the crisis for their future).  At the same time, they might contribute to inform tailored preventive interventions aimed to reduce the effects of future pandemic outbreaks on children on different ages. Any intent to effectively make these adaptations, in this highly specific context, would be a

mighty useful service to children and families during the COVID-19 times.

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