Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Helping families deal with the pressures of parenting during COVID-19

Published: 9 June 2020

Colleagues from Psychology and the Institute for Life Sciences have been instrumental in contributing to recently-issued advice and guidance to help families deal with the increasing challenges caused by their movements being restricted during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers from Psychology at the University and from Solent NHS Trust have been working as part of a UK team whose research on parenting forms the basis for a set of animated short films.

The Families Under Pressure project has published the clips offering tips for families who feel under pressure in the current situation being cooped up at home with their children. The advice is adapted from decades of evidence-based research carried out at the University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust that created parenting advice to support families dealing with the pressures of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other behavioural challenges. The guidance has been revised to reflect the current challenges that most families are facing during the pandemic.

Team member Dr Jana Kreppner, Associate Professor in Developmental Psychopathology, said: “This advice is aimed at any families who feel the pressure of parenting in the current restricted movement situation is getting on top of them. We hope that it will help improve the mental health and wellbeing of both parents and children.”

The Southampton team also included Professor Samuele Cortese, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Honorary Consultant at the Solent NHS Trust;  Dr Hanna Kovshoff, Associate Professor in Developmental Psychopathology; Professor Margaret Thompson Honorary Professor in Psychology and Honorary Consultant at the Solent NHS Trust; Catherine Laver Bradbury, Honorary Research Fellow in Psychology and Consultant Nurse at the Solent NHS Trust; and Dr Catherine Thompson, Research Fellow in Psychology.  They worked with colleagues from King’s College London, the University of Nottingham and creative digital design company TOAD to develop and publish the top tips.

Samuele has also been involved in another project to help people, adolescents and children manage their mental health during the current pandemic situation.

He led the European ADHD Guidelines Group (EAGG) – an international team of ADHD experts – to produce and publish guidance for clinicians about how to manage children, adolescents and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty on how to best manage the care of individuals with ADHD, so clinicians and families need expert guidance. With the expertise of EAGG members from across ten different countries, we have produced guidance that can be accessed by clinicians and families (where one or more members have ADHD) to help them manage their ADHD.

“The guidance has been endorsed by a number of family associations including ADHD Europe, and prestigious professional associations such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists, so we anticipate it will be highly influential in the UK and internationally to professionals and families to help them during these challenging times.”

The resource is free to access and has already been translated into Italian, Greek, German and Spanish. 

Professor Matthew Garner, Head of Psychology and IfLS Mental Health theme lead said: “It’s wonderful to see colleagues in Psychology work so quickly to translate their research and expertise into helpful guidance for children and parents during this crisis. 

“Families are under enormous pressure and require evidence-based and accessible guidance to support their mental health and wellbeing. This builds on the team’s successful development of other tools that have helped parents in recent years, and reflects our expansion of child and adolescent, and mental health research, at Southampton.”  

Privacy Settings