Trajectories of Well-being in Children with Gastrointestinal Conditions and Their Parents during the First Three Years of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Gastrointestinal (GI) conditions are common in childhood and adolescence, and these individuals often experience higher rates of mental health concerns, social challenges, and family
dysfunction compared to healthy peers. Due to these difficulties, it is important to investigate how these children and their parents are faring during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be conceptualized as a potentially traumatic event (PTE). During past PTEs (e.g., natural disasters), common trajectories of well-being and related predictors have been found. For children with GI conditions, trajectories of well-being during this time could help identify children who would benefit from further support now and during future PTEs. The current study collected quantitative data from children with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease and one of their parents over three years (September 2020-December 2022) and qualitative responses from a subtest of those participants to examine the impact of the pandemic on psychosocial outcomes. This study found that children with GI conditions and their parents fell into five trajectory groups: resilience, improving, worsening, chronic, and time 2 variation. Most children and parents were in the resilience trajectory group. A strong parent/child relationship predicted which children belonged to the resilience trajectory, and low isolation predicted which parents belonged to the resilience trajectory. Future research should further examine these findings with larger samples and more rigorous statistical methods. Clinicians should assess for mental health concerns at each visit; many individuals’ well-being fluctuated throughout the pandemic. Leveraging a strong parent/child relationship could help support child resilience responses to PTEs.
Robbertz, Abigail, "Trajectories of Well-being in Children with Gastrointestinal Conditions and Their Parents during the First Three Years of the COVID-19 Pandemic." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2024.
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