Post-traumatic growth during the COVID-19 pandemic in carers of children in Portugal and the UK: Cross-sectional online survey

Paul Stallard, Ana Isabel Pereira, Luísa Barros

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50 Citations (SciVal)


Background Although the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health have attracted interest, little attention has focused on its positive effects and possible post-traumatic growth. Aims To assess anxiety, well-being and post-traumatic growth in carers of children aged 6-16 years in Portugal and the UK. Method A cross-sectional online survey of volunteers conducted at the peak of the first wave of COVID-19 during lockdown (1 May to 27 June 2020). Results A total of 385 caregivers (Portuguese, n = 185; UK, n = 200), predominantly mothers (n = 341, 88.6%), completed the survey. The majority were working exclusively from home (n = 271, 70.4%), almost half reported a reduction in income (n = 174, 45.2%), most children were home taught (n = 358, 93%), and 75 (19.5%) identified a family member with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. In total, 341 caregivers (88.6%) identified positives arising from COVID-19, most commonly related to the post-traumatic growth domains of improved relationships, a greater appreciation of life, discovering and embracing new possibilities, and positive spiritual change. A comparison of those who did (n = 341) and did not (n = 34) report any positives found a significant difference in well-being scores (t373 = 2.24, P = 0.025) but not in anxiety scores (t373 = 0.75, P = 0.45). Conclusions Despite experiencing considerable adversity, examples of post-traumatic growth during the lockdown were common. Although the voluntary online nature of our survey is a limitation, our findings suggest that further research exploring post-traumatic growth following pandemics is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Carers
  • COVID-19
  • cross sectional
  • post-traumatic growth
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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