Michigan Minds: Stress and Parenting During the Covid-19 Pandemic

April 2, 2020

ANN ARBOR – In March, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that face-to-face learning this school year in Michigan is officially over. The announcement, which came three weeks after schools were temporarily closed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, means that parents and children continue to face unprecedented challenges.

Shawna Lee, U-M associate professor of social work, is the lead author of a study that looked at stress and parenting during the coronavirus pandemic. Lee launched the online survey, with colleague Kaitlin Ward, shortly after the White House implemented social distancing guidelines. Respondents to the survey self-reported on their parenting behaviors, economic situation, and overall well-being.

In this episode of Michigan Minds, Lee shares the details of the study and explains some of the findings and how they are interpreted, including:

  • Most parents (52%) said that financial concerns and social isolation (50%) were getting in the way of parenting.
  • Despite displaying warmth to their child and feeling close to their child, a majority of parents (61%) shouted, yelled, or screamed at their children at least once in the past 2 weeks.
  • The majority of parents (88%) reported that they and their children had shown love for each other in the last two weeks.