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The effects of the global quarantine measures on the family unit

The pediatrician and researcher, Dre Lily Hechtman of the Research Institute of McGill University, presents her research project on the effects of global quarantine measures on the family unit.

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The Foundation of Stars is privileged to regularly come into contact with scientific researchers in numerous fields. Over the next few months, we will help you discover novel and exciting studies targeting various areas of pediatric research, all of them presented in layman’s terms, to help you learn more about the latest advances in the world of science. The month of March is dedicated to the mental health of children and adolescents!


Quarantine measures were introduced in mid-March 2020. Data gathered thus far indicate that quarantine/confinement negatively impacts mental health, due to stress, anxiety and ADHD-like symptoms, all exacerbated by stress factors specifically tied to the quarantine (e.g., duration of the confinement, financial insecurity, inadequate resources and information and fear of the virus).

Dr. Hechtman and her team believe that the stress factors associated with the quarantine are chipping away at the family environment and in so doing, hindering the mechanisms by which families thrive, while also increasing stress and anxiety levels. Through this study, researchers are hoping to: - Identify the psychosocial determinants involved in how people either negatively or positively adjust to being quarantined;
- Pinpoint those families that are at risk, with the goal of offering tailored interventions; - Ensure follow-up is available for those families that need it the most.

The objective? To identify the families that urgently need support and interventions, make recommendations in this regard, and create programs to train social workers to intervene in line with research results.

This study aims to assess the participants during the first period of confinement, this second period of confinement, and after the end of the confinement measures. Participants will complete surveys to collect information about the participants themselves, their symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, and family functioning. The project has already recruited 250 families with more than 40% Quebec families. The analyzes will be able to establish links between social / economic factors and symptoms of mental illness, as well as the way in which families adapt and respond to the situation created by COVID-19. This will help us create specific and necessary interventions to address the mental health challenges of these families.