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Factors associated with resilience among children and youths with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic

Yusuf, Afiqah, Wright, Nicola ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3285-2051, Steiman, Mandy, Gonzalez, Miriam, Karpur, Arun, Shih, Andy, Shikako, Keiko and Elsabbagh, Mayada (2022) Factors associated with resilience among children and youths with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLOS ONE, 17 (7). e0271229. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

There is evidence of negative impact of social distancing and confinement measures to manage the COVID-19 pandemic on children, including increased anxiety and depression and behaviour difficulties. Paradoxically, positive impacts like increased support and more self-care activities have also been documented. Little is known about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the children with disability and the potential role of familial, environmental, and biological factors on mitigating this impact. The aims of the study were 1) identifying profiles of functioning across multiple domains during the COVID-19 pandemic and 2) examining the extent to which parenting self-efficacy, support in accessing schooling, and type of diagnosis predict the likelihood of resilience among children with disability, after controlling for household income and single-parent status. An online survey developed from COVID-19 guidance recommendations, was available from June 11- July 21, 2020, and resulted in a convenience sample of caregivers across Canada (n = 883) of children with disability (mean age of 9.4 years old, SDage = 5.7, 58% male). We conducted latent class analysis to examine the number of latent profiles on caregiver-reported changes of 12 functioning domains, as either ‘worsening’, ‘no change’, or ‘improving’. Most participants belonged to ‘stable’ or ‘worsening’ profiles. However, we identified a small subgroup with improvements in child functioning, a pattern indicative of a ‘resilient’ profile. Using a multinomial logistic regression, we found that diagnosis type, parenting self-efficacy and support in accessing schooling were associated with membership in the Resilient or Stable profiles compared to the Worsening profile, after controlling for single-parent status and income. Taken together, our findings identified variability in responses to adversity that is dependent on the child’s diagnosis type, parenting self-efficacy, and support in accessing schooling. By identifying potentially modifiable predictors of resilience, namely parenting self-efficacy and support in accessing schooling, we signal the potential for tailored supports for different diagnoses, through interventions that enhance caregiver empowerment, access to schooling, access to health and social services, and/or mitigate disparities resulting from social disadvantage.

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