Cumulative Risk Exposure and Social Isolation as Correlates of Carer and Child Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Online Study with Families from Various Europeans Countries

Ana Isabel Pereira, Peter Muris, Magda Sofia Roberto, Paul Stallard, Luis Joaquin Garcia-Lopez, Bogdan Tudor Tulbure, Ioana Podina, Ellin Simon, Marlene Sousa, Luísa Barros

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This study adopted a cumulative risk approach to examine the relations between various domains of risk factors (i.e., social isolation and home confinement, other pandemic-related risk factors, and pre-existing psychosocial risk factors) and carers’ and children’s mental health during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. The sample consisted of 1475 carers of 6- to 16-year-old children and adolescents residing in five European countries (Portugal, United Kingdom, Romania, Spain, and The Netherlands) who completed an online survey. The results showed that each of the three domains of adversity accounted for unique variation in carers’ and children’s mental health outcomes. Also, the results indicated that pre-existing psychosocial risk factors moderated the relationship between pandemic-related risk factors and children and carers’ anxiety and between social isolation and confinement and carers’ well-being. Simple slopes analysis suggested a stronger relationship between these domains of adversities and mental health outcomes in already more vulnerable families. It is important to consider the implications of social isolation measures and confinement for families’ mental health, paying special attention to families with pre-existing psychosocial vulnerabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number477
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Early online date29 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Aug 2021


  • Children, adolescents, and carers
  • COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Pre-existing psychosocial risks
  • Social isolation and home confinement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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