Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/

0000-0002-4456-1892

Defense Date

2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Marcia Winter

Abstract

Research suggests that youth are dealing with a myriad of worries during the COVID-19 pandemic (Ellis et al., 2020), which highlights the need for investigations focused on child anxiety. However, to date little research has examined children’s anxiety in the COVID-19 pandemic nor the potential protective effects of the caregiver-child relationship. Therefore, this research aimed to contribute to the literature by investigating the influence of COVID-19 related stressors in younger children and leveraging children’s report of their own attachment security within their relationship with their caregiver and mental health. The current study used a national, quantitative survey of young children (ages 8-12 years; N = 90) and their primary caregivers (parent or legal guardian; N = 90) to investigate the link between pandemic-related stressful events and circumstances and child anxiety as well as the moderating role of caregiver-child attachment security. Findings suggest that (1) pandemic-related stressful events and circumstances were not related to child anxiety scores (i.e., total and subtypes) and (2) caregiver-child attachment security did not moderate the relationship between stressful pandemic-related experiences and child anxiety scores. However, preliminary analyses indicated that anxiety levels were higher than in previous community samples (assessed prior to the pandemic) and that higher caregiver-child attachment security was associated with lower anxiety levels. Thus, preliminary findings indicate a possible cohort effect for child anxiety during the pandemic and underscore the importance of stability and relationship security within the household during pandemic quarantine. This research could inform future studies on child anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

3-24-2022

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