Study Shows COVID-19 Stress Affects One Sibling More Than Others in Multi-Child Families

The pandemic has affected families in many ways, and a new study has revealed that those with two or more children are experiencing a unique side effect.

Published in Developmental Psychology by the University of Waterloo, the study shows that disruptions in the home caused by Covid-19 affect one sibling more than the other. As a result of greater mental health needs, researchers found that it brought about additional negative parenting as caregivers attempted to handle their child’s needs alongside their own stress. Let’s be honest––we all feel this two years in!

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“Struggles with mental health among family members exacerbate each other in a feedback loop,” shares Dillon Browne, lead author and a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Waterloo.

Researches surveyed over 500 caregivers and 1,000 siblings via a questionnaire that addressed mental healthy, family and Covid stress multiple times over a two-month period. Brown states “Our study shows that parents tend to be most reactive and least positive to the child showing the highest levels of mental health difficulties.”

As all families continue to navigate life in the midst of the pandemic, the study points to the positives of family and individual therapy as a means for adjustment and healthy processing of the last few years.

––Karly Wood

Feature photo: Vitolda Klein via Unsplash


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