Has COVID-19 impacted your child? If you are a parent, I’m almost quite certain that you rolled your eyes at that question. Of course, your child has been impacted in some way. I actually cannot think of one situation where a child has not been impacted by the pandemic in some way. The transition to learning from home or wearing masks in the classroom has some effect on their emotions, behaviors, or cognitions. However, the psychological effects of COVID-19 is different for every kid and teenager.
There is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19. I remember receiving an email in mid-March that I would be working from home. In my mind, I was certain that I would work from home for a maximum of three weeks. Each day beyond Week 3, my tolerance for uncertainty decreased. “What will my friends do about their weddings?” “When is the next time I can see my parents”, etc. I started to feel more anxious about not knowing how long this pandemic would take a toll on the world. Uncertainty about the pandemic is extremely common.
Research shows that uncertainty can intensify one’s emotions. For example, I was feeling disgusted recently when I noticed I had cockroaches in my kitchen. I started using cockroach bait and I was feeling very uncertain about how long the cockroaches were there, how many were in my apartment, and how long it would take to extinguish them. My curiosity about what was going to happen likely led me to feel more captivated by this emotion, therefore extending its effects. This theory can also work for positive emotions.
You might be wondering- how does uncertainty affect me? What are the long-term effects of uncertainty? Thankfully, there are clinicians and researchers yearn to understand how kids and teens are impacted by the psychological effects of uncertainty among this pandemic.
If you have read my previous blog posts, you know that I don’t give a “plug” unless it’s something I know is legitimate. My former graduate school advisor, Dr. Robert Friedberg and his lab, Center for the Study and Treatment of Anxious Youth, are asking kids and their parents around the country to complete this survey. If you are a fan of research and want to inform the possibility of creating new treatment for kids who struggle emotionally from the pandemic, this is a great way to give back to science. Filling out this survey is completely voluntary and I would recommend that parents who have kids (ages 8-17) to check out the link below to learn more about the opportunity.