Many parents of children under age 18 are faced with additional COVID-19 parenting- related stressors and may be experiencing increases in psychological difficulties; however, we have yet to investigate parent’s levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and adjustment disorder. Further, COVID-19 has served as a sobering reminder of the significant public health disparities in our society and it is critical to identify risk factors for poorer clinical outcomes. The primary objectives of the present study were to: (a) determine whether parents are reporting higher levels of pandemic-related stress, PTSS, and adjustment disorder than controls, (b) identify specific individual-level factors (e.g., age, gender, race, number of children, age of children) that may be related to higher levels of stress and symptoms among parents, and (c) report parents’ utilization of, and perceived efficacy of, psychological interventions during COVID-19. A U.S. nationally representative sample (N = 2,019) from Qualtrics Data panels was recruited in July– August 2020. Parents endorsed higher levels of stress, PTSS, and adjustment disorder, particularly younger parents. Further, 38.3% of parents reported PTSS above clinical cutoff. Younger participants and persons of color reported higher levels of pandemic- related stress. One-third of parents (33.1%) reported using online mental health services. Taken together, parents may be at greater risk for pandemic stress, PTSS, and adjustment disorder symptoms. Individual-level risk factors, such as age and minority status, are important to consider when understanding COVID-19 stress. Clinical intervention efforts should prioritize trauma-focused treatments for parents, especially those who are younger and identify as a person of color.


This is the publisher's version of Wamser-Nanney, R., Nguyen-Feng, V., Lotzin, A., & Zhou, X. (2021). Parenting amidst COVID-19: Pandemic-related stressors, inequities, and treatment utilization and perceptions. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/cfp0000189

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