Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) Parental Conflicts during COVID -19 Lockdown and Self-Quarantine (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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728P (WITHDRAWN) Parental Conflicts during COVID -19 Lockdown and Self-Quarantine

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Anniina Kaittila, PhD, University Lecturer, Univeristy of Turku
Milla Salin, PhD, University Lecturer, University of Turku
Mia Hakovirta, PhD, Academy Research Fellow, University of Turku, Finland
Background and Purpose: During the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 many countries, like Finland, have chosen a lockdown strategy, social distancing and self-quarantine to stop the spread of virus and to protect their population. During self-quarantine childcare facilities closed and schools moved to remote teaching. This has led families with children more vulnerable to parental conflicts and domestic violence. Hence, the COVID-19 outbreak carries an increased risk compared to other crises, as the containment measures are themselves potentially harmful and, for example physical distancing, remote work and child care at home can exacerbate conflicts and accumulate the already heightened likelihood of conflicts and domestic violence. Furthermore, many are parenting their children under stressful conditions with a high degree of economic uncertainty.

Yet, only few studies have investigated the parental conflicts during lockdown or self-quarantine. This research aim to illustrate the stress parents face under lockdown and the causes of the conflicts parents have faced during lockdown and quarantine.

Methods: The online survey was launched on April 23, 2020, approximately four weeks after the Finnish government administered physical distancing guidelines to slow the spread of the COVID-19. Altogether 624 adults participated, of which 559 were mothers and 45 fathers. The survey asked respondents to report on their work-family reconciliation, marital and parental conflicts, wellbeing and economic situation. They also provided answers to open-ended questions about their everyday life during the pandemic. This research uses mixed-method approach including the survey and open-ended questions. We conducted descriptive analysis. With open-ended questions, we used the theme coding, in which key themes were assigned through review of each response using a grounded theory approach, in which the codes emerge from the data.

Findings: The preliminary results show that parents have more disagreements during lockdown especially on child rearing, use of leisure time and domestic work. With the open-ended questions, parental conflicts during pandemic may be divided into four categories 1) role division between partners, 2) time use of family members 3) different perspectives on how to follow the COVID-19 restrictions 4) ongoing problems in family life, which culminate and become more transparent during COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusion and Implications: The pandemics and lockdown provide an enabling environment that may exacerbate or spark diverse forms of conflicts between partners. Understanding the specific risk factors that account for parental conflicts during crises will help in addressing the current situation and its aftermath, as well for allow for future mitigation of conflicts in the face of similar events. Furthermore, results of this study may help social and health care professionals to organize responses more effectively during future pandemics.