Parental Burnout During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nora Skjerdingstad, Miriam S. Johnson, Sverre U. Johnson, Asle Hoffart, Omid V. Ebrahimi

Increased and long-term parental stress related to one's parental role can lead to parental burnout. In the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, families experienced intensified pressure due to the government-initiated contact restrictions applied to prevent the spread of the virus in the population. This study investigates the risk factors and predictors of parental burnout in a large sample of parents (N = 1488) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Norway. Demographic and psychosocial factors were as-sessed at two timepoints: at the beginning of the pandemic outbreak in March 2020 (T1) and at 3 months follow-up (T2). A hierarchical regression analysis was applied to identify the factors that contribute to parental burnout at T2. Parental burnout was additionally explored across subgroups.

Findings revealed that younger age was associated with more parental burnout. Concurrent (T2) use of unhelpful coping strategies, insomnia symptoms, parental stress, and less parental satisfaction was significantly associated with the presence of greater parental burnout (T2). Additionally, parental stress and satisfaction measured in the earliest phase of the pandemic (T1) were associated with parental burnout 3 months later (T2) over and above concurrent parental stress/satisfaction. Unemployed parents and individuals with a mental health condition were identified as subgroups with substantially heightened levels of parental burnout.