Dr. Kate Zinszer (Université de Montréal) and her EnCORE study team have released preliminary results based on data collected from an online questionnaire that parents filled out including updates on children’s behaviour and emotional health, as well as many parental concerns. Most parents believed that vaccines will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and have indicated that they will likely vaccinate their child as soon as possible.

 

Key results:

  • 33% of parents reported that their child has experienced some difficulty with regards to emotions, concentration, behavior, or relationships
  • Most parents are concerned about their child bringing COVID-19 into their homes from school and are eager to vaccinate their children

 

The study selected four neighborhoods from the island of Montreal’s 34 boroughs and independent municipalities. These four regions included the Plateau Mont-Royal, Montreal North, the West Island, and Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. The study released preliminary updates on children’s behaviour and emotional health, based on data collected from an online questionnaire that parents filled out. Results from the survey indicated that 55% of children spend less time doing physical activity today compared to before the pandemic. Most, 81%, reported spending less time with friends in-person. Over half of parents (54%) reported that their children are less socially connected and spend more time with screens for non-educational purposes compared to before the pandemic.  A significant portion of parents (33%) reported that their child has had some level of difficulty with emotions, concentration, behavior, or relationships. In response to this rising concern, the authors have compiled a list of mental health services on their website (encorestudy.ca), some of which are available to Canadians anywhere in the country.

About 51% of parents were concerned that their child would contract COVID-19 and 63% were concerned that their child would bring COVID-19 into their homes from school. Only 33% of parents were confident that their child’s school had the ability to control the spread of coronavirus. The majority (63%) were confident that the school system would be able to communicate potential issues related to COVID-19 with them. While 59% of parents were confident in the school’s ability to meet their child’s academic needs, only 35% believed that the physical activity needs would be met.

Most parents (86%) responded that they will likely get their child vaccinated for COVID-19. Hesitant parents were mostly concerned about vaccine safety and possible side effects. They also did not believe their child could get seriously ill if they were to contract the virus. Among parents who were likely to get their child vaccinated, reasoning included:

– I want to help stop the spread of COVID-19;

– I want to protect others in my family from getting sick with COVID-19; and

– I don’t want my child to get sick with COVID-19.

 

Complete preliminary results of their study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, can be found here.

The study team is looking to recruit additional study participants, namely school and daycare staff as well as parents. If interested, please contact the study team at: info@encorestudy.ca.

Our news release regarding the study results can be found here.