Global Health & Medicine 2022;4(3):166-173.
Changes in parental involvement and perceptions in parents of young children during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional observational study in Japan
Nomura S, Endo K, Omori T, Kisugi N
This study aimed to clarify changes in parental involvement with their children and parental perceptions related to parenting in both fathers and mothers of young children during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. A cross-sectional observational design was used. Data were collected using a web-based questionnaire from 28 fathers and 115 mothers between October 1 and November 30, 2020. Parents answered questions regarding themselves, basic sociodemographic variables, perceived changes in involvement with their children, the presence or absence of abusive behavior (e.g., violence toward children), and parental perceptions related to parenting. Many parents indicated that they did not experience major changes in their involvement or perceptions compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of the fathers considered themselves to be in more physical contact or communication with their children; there was a significant difference between fathers and mothers regarding eating meals with their children (p = 0.00). Fathers felt tired due to parenting (35.7%) or a lack of free time (42.9%) during the COVID-19 pandemic. While significantly more mothers than fathers responded that their partners took care of their children (p = 0.03), significantly greater number of mothers than fathers also reported feeling overburdened (p = 0.00). Family support workers should help fathers maintain involvement with their young children without high stress levels and support mothers to reduce their heavy burden of parenting continuously. This would contribute to young children’s growth and development despite a public health crisis.