Parents’ Self-Reported Stress and Coping During the COVID-19 Pandemic-Related First Emergency Situation in Latvia [PDF]

Baiba Martinsone, Sindija Dziedātāja, Ieva Stokenberga
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a new and challenging experience for families with children. It has changed the routine of everyday life dramatically. The aim of this mixed methods study was to explore the sources of parental stress and applied coping strategies during the first emergency situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as compare the answers in different demographic groups of parents.
Respondents were 2 559 parents, most of them were female, with a mean age of 39 years. Among the series of open-ended questions in a survey, the two of them were analysed in this research, respectively “What causes you the most stress or worry?” and “What activities do you do or keep in mind to maintain your mental health and quality of life?” Thematic analysis of written responses of parents led to development of 16 qualitative categories of stressors and 14 categories of coping strategies. The most common stressors of the parents were physical and social distancing, remote learning and work-related stress. The most common coping was physical activity, time for oneself and spending time with the family.
Within demographic groups the two-parent families were more likely to report an increase of home duties, multitasking, parents’ personal issues, fear of becoming infected with the virus and also no stress. Parents aged under 39 years were more likely to mention stressors such as physical and social distancing and change in daily routine, and they were more likely to cope with stress by spending time with the family. Older parents (over 39 years) were more likely to mention stressors such as uncertainty, COVID-related information, no stress at all or other, and were more likely to use such coping strategies as spending time for oneself, communication with others and gardening.
The results of the study suggest that families were exposed to multi-stressors during the COVID-19 pandemic related first emergency situation in Latvia in May-June 2020. Parents of children used a variety of coping strategies and most of them were active.
Keywords: coping strategies for parents, COVID-19 pandemic, family stress, parental stress.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2021 = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2021
Rīga, University of Latvia, 2021. 1148 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-18-735-3