Project PACO

Psychological Adjustment to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The project PACO examines how families with school aged children adapt to measures enforced to slow down the spread of the Corona virus. The core focus of this project is on parents’ daily experiences from late March until late April 2020.

Project Description
In early 2020, various measures were taken worldwide to slow down the spread of the novel corona virus. These measures (such as extensive contact and travel restrictions) have likely had a noticeable impact on all citizens’ daily lives. Adding to these restrictions, school closures represented another potential burden for families with school children.

The aim of this project was to better understand parents’ adjustment to this unusual and for many individuals stressful situation. For this purpose, a longitudinal online study was conducted. More than 950 parents who live in a household with a school-age child completed an initial online questionnaire in late March / early April 2020. More than 560 of them also took part in the second part of the study, in which parents’ experiences and well-being as well as information about the youngest schoolchild in the household were assessed every evening for three weeks. At the end of these three weeks, the first study period study ended with a final online questionnaire.

This study design allows investigating which day-to-day experiences are related to differences in the parents’ adjustment across these three weeks. In November 2020 study participants were invited to fill in another online questionnaire. This second measurement wave allows to tackle long-term effects of daily experiences during the early phase of the pandemic on parents’ and children’s development.

Project Objectives

  • Which daily experiences are associated with a successful adaptation to this new situation?
  • How do parents’ behaviors and experiences change across three weeks during the Covid-19 pandemic?
  • What is the role of homeschooling in this adaptation process?
  • How do daily experiences during the early phase of the pandemic affect families’ thoughts and feelings six months later?

Principal Investigator
Andreas Neubauer

Project Team
Kristina Brasnic
Andrea Kramer

Florian Schmiedek
Andrea Irmer

Annette Brose, Humboldt-Universität Berlin