Experiences With COVID-19 Stressors and Parents’ Use of Neglectful, Harsh, and Positive Parenting Practices in the Northeastern United States

Christian M. Connell, Michael J. Strambler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To estimate household exposure to COVID-19 related stress and the association with parent report of neglectful, harsh, and positive discipline practices. Methods: Cross sectional survey data was collected from 2,068 parents in the Northeastern US. Parents reported personal and household experiences of COVID-19 stressors, their level of distress, and use of neglectful parenting and discipline practices for a randomly selected child in their home. Analyses estimated rates of COVID-19 related stress and parenting practices. Logistic regression was used to assess the relation of COVID-19 stress to parenting behaviors. Results: Individual and household stressor level, as well as distress were each positively associated with likelihood of neglect. Personal exposure to stressors was minimally related to discipline, but household stressor level and parents’ distress were positively associated with harsh and positive discipline. Discussion: Indicators of COVID-19 stress (e.g., exposure to stressors and distress) each uniquely predicted parents’ use of neglect, particularly physical and family-based sub-types, and use of harsh and positive discipline practices. Results suggest that parents may require additional support to provide appropriate care for their children while coping with the increased rates of stress associated with the pandemic and the resulting public health response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild Maltreatment
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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