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Educational and Developmental Psychologist ; 40(1):103-114, 2023.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2245772


Objective: The study explored the impacts of restrictions on the perceived psychological distress and health outcomes in children by their mothers who acted as their full-time caregivers during the pan-India lockdown after the outbreak of COVID-19. Method: A narrative qualitative research design was used and a purposive heterogeneous sample of 20 mothers of children aged 9–11 years were chosen, who were in a full-time caregiving role. Data obtained through a telephonic semi-structured interview were analysed using Narrative Thematic Method. Results: Four themes were generated: aberrant social responsivity and loneliness, decreased interest in regular activities, psychological distress and defiant emotional responses, and negative health outcomes. Anxiety, irritation, quarrelsome behaviours, anger, frustration, feeling low, reduced interest in games, boredom, etc. were reported in children. Decreased appetite, sleep disturbances, complaints of indigestion and multiple complaints of body aches were major negative health outcomes. Conclusions: Mothers described a variety of psychological distress and health outcomes for children due to the extreme restrictions, uncertainty, apprehension, reduced positive engagement and lowered social connection after the outbreak of the pandemic. Family-, media-, school- and community-based real or virtual intervention programmes are recommended to minimize the negative impacts and to guard children against the ill-consequences of restrictions of current and future pandemics. © 2021 Australian Psychological Society.