Why Do Many Parents Expect More Help from their Children During COVID-19? A Qualitative Follow-up to Quantitative Survey Data

Angel He, Patricia M. Greenfield, Amy Akiba, Genavee Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Quantitative analysis in this special issue (Greenfield, Brown, & Du, 2021) showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has led most parents to report greater expectations for their children to help with family subsistence. This familistic development exemplifies the shifts in behavior and values predicted by Greenfield's Theory of Social Change, Cultural Evolution, and Human Development when survival concerns rise and the social world retracts. Here, we use qualitative analysis to uncover the psychological processes behind the quantitative shift. Our California sample consisted of 109 parents with at least one child between age 7 and 18 living at home during the pandemic when they answered the survey. Forty-six of these parents provided qualitative data concerning expectations for their children's household responsibilities during COVID-19. An open-ended question asked parents to explain why their expectations of their children to help around the house and to carry out self-maintenance had changed or remained the same. Prominent themes in the qualitative responses manifest a shift from a mindset found in a large-scale urban society toward that found in a small-scale subsistence community: Before the pandemic, parents focused on increasing their children's competitiveness in society through extracurricular activities like tutoring, but that transitioned into a focus on household duties such as cooking and cleaning. In some cases, this shift was linked to an increase in life satisfaction; in other cases, it was linked to a decline in life satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100052
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Research in Ecological and Social Psychology
Volume3
Early online date26 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2022

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