CCFW Team Receives Population Health Grant for COVID-19 Study

The University of Washington Public Health Initiative awarded 21 grants to faculty-led teams including a team from the Center for Child and Family Well-being. The team led by Center Director, Liliana Lengua, will study the likely impact of COVID-19 on the mental health on parents and their children.

The Population Health Initiative COVID-19 rapid response research grants are intended to rapidly accelerate, or jumpstart, novel research designed to better understand or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on multiple facets of life.

COVID-19 Maternal and Infant Health Responses in a Sample of Low-income Families

Liliana Lengua, Professor, Department of Psychology
Stephanie Thompson, Research Scientist, Department of Psychology
Becca Calhoun, Training and Evaluation Specialist, Department of Psychology

Project abstract
COVID-19 is likely to impact the mental health of parents and children, not only through exposure to illness, but also through changes in employment and social factors. These effects may be particularly pronounced for individuals experiencing prior economic strain, mental health symptoms, and disadvantage.

The current proposal seeks to assess COVID-19 related concerns, social and economic stressors, and mental health in 210 mothers and their infants who were living in low-income contexts (<2x Federal poverty cutoff) prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. This sample is currently participating in an on-going study on the impact of pre- and postnatal adversity, maternal mental health, and parenting on infant cognitive, emotional, and social development.

Children in the study are currently 6-36 months of age. The sample is racially and ethnically diverse (respondents endorsed all that apply: 41% African American or Black, 13% Asian American, 20% Latino or Hispanic, 8% Native American or Alaskan Native, 4% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 44% White). Mothers were recruited while pregnant with their first child, and have participated in either 3 or 4 of 5 total assessments in the ongoing study. The ongoing study has comprehensive assessments of income-related stressors, family context, maternal mental health, parenting, cortisol, and infant physiological stress responses and emotional adjustment.

This study will provide critical information on the COVID-19 specific experiences of this vulnerable population, the prior/existing family context that contributes to resilient or vulnerable responses to COVID-19, and the changes in maternal and infant mental health specifically related to COVID-19 experiences.

Read more about the UW Population Health Initiative COVID-19 rapid response grants here.