Being a parent, emotional stability, and adjustment disorder symptoms in the face of COVID-19

Miri Kestler-Peleg, Shani Pitcho-Prelorentzos, Michal Mahat-Shamir, Maya Kagan, Osnat Lavenda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: The current study examines the correlation between emotional stability and symptoms related to adjustment to the stresses related to the pandemic for parents and nonparents at the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel. Background: At the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, governments prohibited public gatherings and demanded social distancing. These challenges may be especially difficult for individuals with low levels of emotional stability as adaptation difficulties may lead to stress-related outcomes, such as adjustment disorder symptoms. Additionally, in the face of a significant external threat and the demand for intensive joint familial time at home, the parental role becomes especially salient. Methods: Two hundred forty-four Israeli adults filled in self-reported e-version questionnaires regarding emotional stability, adjustment disorder symptoms, and background variables. A cross-sectional design was used to examine the association between emotional stability and adjustment disorder symptoms, as well as the potential moderation by parenting status. Results: The findings revealed that the levels of emotional stability were negatively correlated with adjustment disorder symptoms, while being a parent mitigated this correlation. This correlation was nonsignificant among parents. Conclusion and Implications: It appears that the identity salience of parental role in the current stressful situation and its associated strain may have overcome the advantage of emotional stability. The identity of being a parent has the potential to dismiss it. Here, the social role emerges as more forcible than the personality trait. Recommendations for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1325-1338
Number of pages14
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • coronavirus; identity theory
  • neuroticism
  • pandemic
  • parenthood
  • personality traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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