Uncovering longitudinal patterns of resilience and vulnerability in a pandemic: The All Our Families COVID‑19 Impact Study

McDonald, Sheila W | $313,415

Alberta The University of Calgary 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

The psychological and social effects of the COVID19 pandemic are pervasive and are impacting current mental health and relationships, with potential long-term effects, notably in youth. Youth is a developmental period of significant social, emotional, biological, and contextual change, simultaneously associated with a surge in mental health difficulties. Preliminary evidence at the national level is indicating reduced mental health during the pandemic, particularly among youth. High-quality, contemporary data on coping and recovery for families and youth during and after an unprecedented pandemic is crucial to inform further action and resource allocation in any future periods of lockdown, increased or re-infection, and future pandemics. Further, the acute and sustainable costs and benefits of aggressive public health measures such as physical distancing on the well-being of families and communities are unknown. The All Our Families (AOF) study, an ongoing prospective pregnancy cohort in Calgary, will survey families at three times points over one year to capture the discrete and longitudinal patterns of direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic on mental health, social connections, school achievement, sleep, and screen-time. AOF is uniquely positioned to disentangle emerging and sustained vulnerabilities from pre-existing vulnerabilities to development using longitudinal data that reflect the individual, family, and community determinants of health. Longitudinal data analysis will uncover patterns of resilience and vulnerability immediately, and over time for mothers and youth. Identification the factors that influence family and youth health and well-being during a pandemic is critical to the development of public health communications and strategies to improve outcomes.

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