Special Issue "Children’s Mental Health, Parenting, Family and Groups’ Resilience in Crisis"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Michela Gatta
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Padua University Hospital, 35128 Padua, Italy
Interests: developmental psychopathology; children and adolescents psychiatry; family interactions; family functioning; health care institution; multidisciplinary treatment
Dr. Marina Miscioscia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Padua University Hospital, 35128 Padua, Italy; Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization, University of Padova, 35131 Padua, Italy
Interests: developmental psychopathology; parenting; clinical psychology; family interactions; family functioning; LGBTQI+ issues

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the whole world to its knees, provoking health, social, and economic upheavals, thus potentially contributing to widespread emotional distress and an increased risk of psychiatric disorders in people of all ages. Following the loss of economic and psychological support, families have faced various forms of stress which have had an impact on parents and children alike: dealing with COVID-19-related stressors puts parents at a higher risk of experiencing distress, potentially undermining their ability to be supportive caregivers (e.g., increasing the use of inappropriate disciplinary strategies), which in turn might lead to a higher risk of physical abuse and neglect for their children. Several scholars and professional organizations have expressed concern that children and adolescents in particular may be at increased risk for psychological disturbances.

In psychology, the ability to thrive in the face of adversity is known as resilience—an essential concept in child development, mental health theory, and research. A focus on family resilience seeks to identify and foster the critical processes that enable families to cope more effectively with crises or persistent forms of stress and emerge stronger from challenging situations, be the stressors internal or external to the family itself. For this purpose, we are collecting contributions for a Special Issue on Children’s Mental Health, Parenting, Family and Groups’ Resilience in Crisis. We invite the submission of original research papers, reviews, notes, comments, etc., to be published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by MDPI. Qualitative or quantitative contributions from basic or applied research that will extend the knowledge in this field are welcomed.

Our aim is to shed light on children’s and parents’ emotional-behavioral state and how it evolves during the crisis period, identifying stress factors and resilience factors. It could also be interesting to investigate the types of treatment provided in the time of crisis (primary or secondary prevention), assessing families’ adaptation to changes in the way they receive care, and their efficacy in terms of managing patients’ emotional-behavioral difficulties.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to publish relevant research dealing with family, parent, and child/adolescent health in times of crisis, with consistent clinical implications to strengthen the family as a functional unit and enable it to foster all its members' resilience. It could also be interesting to present experiences about individual or group psychological and emotional support that focuses on stress management.

We encourage authors to send a short abstract (500 words max.) and a tentative title in advance. Completed manuscripts must be submitted via the online portal.

All submitted manuscripts will be processed through a rapid peer-review process.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dr. Michela Gatta
Dr. Marina Miscioscia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • adolescence
  • children
  • mental health
  • family relationships
  • family interactions
  • psychopathology
  • psychotherapy
  • parent-child relationship
  • parent-child interactions
  • parenting
  • parenting stress
  • parental burnout
  • resilience
  • wellbeing

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Lessons Learnt during COVID-19 Lockdown: A Qualitative Study of South African Families
by , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12552; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182312552 (registering DOI) - 29 Nov 2021
Viewed by 310
Abstract
In a pandemic, such as COVID-19, with every single person struggling to deal with the unknown, it is often within the family that support is found but it is also within the family that circumstances, contexts and behaviours could further drive the pandemic [...] Read more.
In a pandemic, such as COVID-19, with every single person struggling to deal with the unknown, it is often within the family that support is found but it is also within the family that circumstances, contexts and behaviours could further drive the pandemic and where they struggle to cope. This is novel research in the South African context with no known information regarding family life during and post the pandemic. This study, therefore, explores the lessons learnt during COVID-19 by South African families. A qualitative approach was employed to guide the gathering and analysis of the data. Data were collected from a sample of 31 family members above the age of 18 years from communities of the Western Cape Province and analysed through thematic analysis. According to the participants interviewed some of the significant lessons learnt from the lockdown include hygiene and health consciousness, appreciation for family, valuing life, self-introspection, less dependency, remote working, and financial savings. The realisation of such lessons even post-pandemic has the potential of strengthening families to be a resource of coping and resilience during very difficult times at the same time, contributing to greater physical, social, and economic functioning of families across South Africa. Full article
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Article
Relations among Socially Prescribed Perfectionism, Career Stress, Mental Health, and Mindfulness in Korean College Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 12248; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182212248 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 325
Abstract
Korean young adults are exposed to higher career stress than ever before, and such stress exerts a negative impact on mental health outcomes. The present study aimed to understand the mediating effect of career stress on the relationship between socially prescribed perfectionism and [...] Read more.
Korean young adults are exposed to higher career stress than ever before, and such stress exerts a negative impact on mental health outcomes. The present study aimed to understand the mediating effect of career stress on the relationship between socially prescribed perfectionism and mental health using a sample of 420 Korean college students. The present study also investigated the moderating role of mindfulness in the mediated pathways across gender groups. This study’s results showed that there are considerable gender differences in this relationship. Career stress significantly mediates the relationship between socially prescribed perfectionism and depression and life satisfaction only for females. Study findings also indicated that the moderating effect of mindfulness was more remarkable for female students than for male students. Implications and future directions are discussed. Full article
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Article
The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Study on the Emotional-Behavioral Sequelae for Children and Adolescents with Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Their Families
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9880; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18189880 - 19 Sep 2021
Viewed by 942
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the immediate and short-term impact of the pandemic on the psychological well-being of Italian children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders and their families. Overall, 56 patients aged 6–18 (M = 13.4 years, SD = 2.77) and their parents [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the immediate and short-term impact of the pandemic on the psychological well-being of Italian children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders and their families. Overall, 56 patients aged 6–18 (M = 13.4 years, SD = 2.77) and their parents were evaluated during the COVID-19 lockdown (T0) and after 4 months (T1). An ad hoc data sheet, Youth Self-Report 11–18 (YSR), Child Behavior Checklist 6–18 (CBCL), and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) were administered. Patients, mainly suffering from internalizing disorders, overall demonstrated a good adaptation to the pandemic context. Moreover, patients with behavioral disorders showed a greater psychological discomfort at both T0 and T1 compared to patients with internalizing disorders. Over time, patients presented an improvement on the emotional side, as proven by a significant decrease in internalizing and post-traumatic stress problems. Finally, no significant differences were found in the emotional-behavioral profile of patients according to the means of conducting neuropsychiatric interventions during the lockdown (i.e., in person/remotely/interrupted), thus allowing us to exclude important negative effects caused by the transition to remote therapy. Concerning parents, an inverse relationship emerged between the DASS-21 scores and the level of resilience, which therefore represents a protective factor against psychological maladjustment. Over time, an improvement in the psychological well-being of parents was observed, as shown by a significant decrease in mothers’ anxiety and fathers’ stress. Full article
Article
Analysis of Parenting Attitude Types and Influencing Factors of Korean Parents by Using Latent Transition Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7394; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18147394 - 10 Jul 2021
Viewed by 770
Abstract
This study aimed to classify the latent class of parenting attitude for parents with preschool children and school-age children, identify the pattern of transition in the type of parenting attitude over time, and determine the influencing factors associated with the transition. A total [...] Read more.
This study aimed to classify the latent class of parenting attitude for parents with preschool children and school-age children, identify the pattern of transition in the type of parenting attitude over time, and determine the influencing factors associated with the transition. A total of 1462 households were the subjects of this longitudinal study that used latent profile analysis, latent transition analysis, and logistic regression analysis. The parenting attitude in the preschool year was classified into a model of three latent classes of ‘parent uninvolved’, ‘maternal authoritative and paternal authoritarian’, and ‘maternal authoritarian and paternal authoritative’, and the parenting attitude in the school year was classified into a model of four latent classes of ‘parent weak uninvolved’, ‘parent strong uninvolved’, parent authoritative’, and ‘maternal authoritarian and paternal authoritative.’ All latent class subjects with preschool children showed an attitude transition to maternal authoritarian and paternal authoritative when their children were in school years. It was confirmed that a mother’s depression and father’s parenting stress were the most influential factors in the parenting attitude transition. This study lay in identifying the patterns of parenting attitude and the transition in attitude according to the developmental stage of children. Full article
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Article
Impact of the COVID-19 Italian Lockdown on the Physiological and Psychological Well-Being of Children with Fragile X Syndrome and Their Families
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5752; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18115752 - 27 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
On 10 March 2020, in Italy, a total lockdown was put in place to limit viral transmission of COVID-19 infection as much as possible. Research on the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted detrimental effects in children and their parents. However, little [...] Read more.
On 10 March 2020, in Italy, a total lockdown was put in place to limit viral transmission of COVID-19 infection as much as possible. Research on the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted detrimental effects in children and their parents. However, little is known about such effects in children with neurodevelopment disorders and their caregivers. The present study investigated how the lockdown has impacted the physiological and psychological well-being of children with Fragile X-Syndrome (FXS), aged from 2 to 16 years, and their mothers. In an online survey, 48 mothers of FXS children reported their perception of self-efficacy as caregivers and, at the same time, their children’s sleep habits, behavioral and emotional difficulties during, and retrospectively, before the lockdown. Results showed a general worsening of sleep quality, and increasing behavioral problems. Although mothers reported a reduction in external support, their perception of self-efficacy as caregivers did not change during the home confinement compared to the period before. Overall, the present study suggested that specific interventions to manage sleep problems, as well as specific therapeutic and social support for increasing children and mother psychological well-being, need to be in place to mitigate the long-term effects of a lockdown. Full article
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Article
Short-Term Effects of COVID-19 Lockdown in Italian Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: The Role of Separation Anxiety
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5549; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18115549 - 22 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1167
Abstract
In March 2020, the Italian Government imposed mandatory home confinement to limit the spread of COVID-19. Few studies assessed the psychophysical impact of COVID-19 on chronically ill children. This study examined these effects on children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1D) and their [...] Read more.
In March 2020, the Italian Government imposed mandatory home confinement to limit the spread of COVID-19. Few studies assessed the psychophysical impact of COVID-19 on chronically ill children. This study examined these effects on children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1D) and their caregivers. Seventy-one patients (7–13 years) with T1D and their caregivers were administered a survey created ad hoc and some standardized questionnaires, assessing psychological well-being and anxiety. Medical data (physical and biochemical characteristics) were recorded before (T0, January–February) and after (T1, May–June) the lockdown. Paired Student t-test, Spearman two-tailed correlations, and a linear regression model were used for statistical analysis. Children at T1 showed higher BMI (body mass index), daily total and basal insulin dose, and time spent in therapeutic range, and they showed lower HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin), time spent above the therapeutic range, and standard deviations of the mean glucose values than at T0. A total of 32.9% scored in the clinical range for separation anxiety. The increase in separation anxiety was predicted by younger age, female gender, more recent T1D diagnosis, less time spent in therapeutic range at T1, and higher perceived fear of COVID-19 infection. In a pandemic context, separation anxiety may be stronger in younger females, with more recent T1D diagnosis and poor metabolic control, thus affecting the parent’s ability to manage diabetes and to support children’s autonomy. Full article

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Parenting Styles and Child Attachment within Biological and Foster Families in Romania
Authors: Elena Stanculescu; Maria Ancuța Gurza; Venera Bucur; Ana Muntean
Affiliation: University of Bucharest, Romania; DGASPC Timis, Department of Psychology, Pta Regina Maria Nr.3, Timisoara, Romania; West University of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania
Abstract: The impact of parenting style and practices on the child’s socio-emotional development has been demonstrated by numerous pieces of research. The aim of this study is to explore the parenting styles of foster versus biological parents in relation to their children’s attachment and development within the Romanian cultural framework. This cross-sectional study is based on data collected in Romania during 2016-2017 and highlights the styles practiced by a sample of 57 biological parents towards their children, compared to those of a sample of 97 foster parents. The 165 children (94 boys, 71 girls), whose ages range between 10 and 17 (M =13.12; SD=1.52), were recruited from three secondary schools and through the child protection services in one county in Romania. The data was collected mainly through use of the Parental Authority Questionnaire and the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment. The results of this exploratory study show that the authoritarian style is more common among biological parents than in foster families and that foster children seem to be more securely attached when compared with adolescents being brought up by their biological parents. Practical implications are discussed, taking into consideration the interventions and services that exist for children and families in Romania.

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