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Original research
Parents and school-aged children’s mental well-being after prolonged school closures and confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico: a cross-sectional online survey study
  1. Daniela Leon Rojas1,
  2. Fabiola Castorena Torres1,
  3. Barbara M Garza-Ornelas1,
  4. Angie Milady Castillo Tarquino1,
  5. Cynthia Anahí Salinas Silva1,
  6. José Luis Almanza Chanona1,
  7. Julieta Rodríguez-de-Ita1,2
  1. 1 Tecnologico de Monterrey, Escuela de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Ave. Morones Prieto 3000, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  2. 2 Tecnologico de Monterrey, Escuela de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Hospital San José, TecSalud, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  1. Correspondence to Dr Julieta Rodríguez-de-Ita; julyrdz{at}tec.mx

Abstract

Objective This study aimed to determine parents’ and school-aged children’s mental well-being after experiencing confinement and prolonged school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design Using a cross-sectional design, an online survey was applied to parents of school-aged children inquiring about their mental well-being and COVID-19 pandemic changes in their home and working lives. To assess the presence of depression, anxiety and stress in parents, the participants responded to the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale - 21 scale. To assess psychosocial dysfunction and sleep disturbances in children, participants responded to the Pediatric Symptom Checklist and the Children Sleep Habits Questionnaire.

Results A total of 209 parents answered the questionnaire, most of them were female (87.1%) with a mean age of 40 years. The prevalence of anxiety, stress and parental depression symptoms were 35.9%, 28.2% and 25.4%, respectively. Children’s mean age was 8.9 years, the prevalence of children’s psychosocial dysfunction was 12%, while their sleep disturbance symptoms were 59.8%. 10.5% of children were suffering both outcomes. We found a bidirectional relationship between parents’ and children’s mental health outcomes. Parental depression symptoms were associated with experiencing COVID-19 infection within the household, having children with pre-existing medical diagnoses, children’s psychosocial dysfunction and sleep disturbances. Children’s psychosocial dysfunction was associated with parental depression and changes in their school routine. Children’s sleep disturbances were associated with parental anxiety, younger age, increased use of electronic devices, night-time awakenings and shorter sleep time.

Conclusion Our results support the impact of long confinement and school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexican children and parents’ mental well-being. We advocate for specific mental health interventions tailored to respond to parents and children at risk of mental well-being distress.

  • Sleep
  • COVID-19
  • Child Psychiatry
  • Psychology

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Data are available on reasonable request through the corresponding author, JR-d-I, julyrdz@tec.mx.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Data are available on reasonable request through the corresponding author, JR-d-I, julyrdz@tec.mx.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors DLR: Guarantor, protocol design, data collection, data analysis, writing paper. JR-d-I: Concept, protocol design, writing paper. JLAC, AMCT and CASS: Data collection. BMG-O: Protocol design, data collection, writing paper. FCT: Protocol design, writing paper. All authors approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests No, there are no competing interests.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.