Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Fall 2022


Ebrahim, M. R. Stress Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts on Coparenting Quality and Child Internalizing and Externalizing Problems. Undergraduate Honors Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2022.


Copyright Michelle Ebrahim 2022


Since emerging in late 2019, the highly contagious coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has caused worldwide disruptions, with major shutdowns in school, work, and other aspects of life. These stressors uniquely impacted families with young children. The present study investigated the impact of the pandemic on family functioning and risk for child internalizing and externalizing problems during the first year after the pandemic. The study included three waves of data collection from a larger longitudinal study aimed at understanding how couples navigate the prenatal-postpartum transition and the impacts of the family on early child development. We found that family pandemic-related stress was significantly associated with increased child externalizing behaviors via poorer coparenting relationship quality as reported by mothers; however, maternal coparenting was not significantly associated with child internalizing symptoms. Interestingly, there was not a significant association between COVID-related stress and coparenting relationship quality reported by fathers, and paternal views of coparenting were not associated with child behavioral problems. Although the acute phase of the pandemic has passed, results have important implications for research and practice such as improving family communication and successfully negotiating childrearing responsibilities when parents are adapting to major life changes and disruptions to family routines.