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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ; 19(7):3795, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1762543


The objective of our study was to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the emotional and behavioral symptoms in minors with neuropsychiatric disorders and on parental stress through a standardized neuropsychological assessment, comparing the data collected before the pandemic with those collected during the lock-down. Another goal of our study was to analyze the relationship between parental stress and behavioral/emotional symptoms in children. Our study was conducted on 383 families of patients who had already been referred at the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit of the University Hospital of Salerno for different neuropsychiatric conditions. All the parents completed two neuropsychological standardized questionnaires for the assessment of parental stress (PSI-Parenting Stress Index-Short Form) and the emotional/behavioral problems of their children (Child Behaviour CheckList). The data collected during the pandemic were compared with those collected from questionnaires administered during the six months preceding the pandemic, as is our usual clinical practice. The comparison between the mean scores of PSI and CBCL before and after the pandemic showed a statistically significant increase in all subscales analyzed in the total sample. The correlation analysis showed significant positive relationship between the subscale Total Stress of PSI and the subscales Total Problems and Internalizing Problems of CBCL. Our study suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding measures adopted led to an increase in internalizing and externalizing symptoms in children and adolescents with neuropsychiatric disorder. Similarly, parental stress increased during COVID-19 and ahigher level of stress in parents can be related to the internalizing symptoms of their children.

Pediatr Rep ; 13(1): 35-44, 2021 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1079672


While numerous treatments for ASD are available, intervention based on the principles and procedures of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has garnered substantial scientific support. In this study we evaluated the effects of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, followed by quarantine provisions and during the three months after the resumption of activities. The study was conducted on a group of children taking part on a ABA-based intervention funded by the Local Health Authority (ASL) of the province of Caserta. In this study we considered a sample of 88 children who had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, aged between 18 and 30 months. The following inclusion criteria were observed: age at the time of diagnosis less than 30 months, absence of other neurological, genetic, or sensorineural pathologies, and severity level 1 measured by symptoms evaluation based on the ADOS 2 module T (used for diagnosis). During the lockdown children experienced improvements in communication, socialization, and personal autonomy. During the three months after the ABA treatment, the acquired skills were maintained but no significant improvement was demonstrated. In this study, we describe how parent training was significant in avoiding delays in the generalization of socially significant behaviors, following the drastic interruption of the treatment in this group of children.