Burden and Growth during COVID-19: Comparing Parents of Children with and without Disabilities

Shirli Werner, Yael Hochman, Roni Holler, Carmit Noa Shpigelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have had a disproportionate impact on families with young children, especially with disabilities. This study examined factors associated with burden and growth among parents of young children in Israel, while comparing parents of children with and without disabilities. We hypothesized that the association between family functioning, informal social support, and perceived adequacy of educational services and burden and growth would be moderated by disabilities. An online questionnaire was completed by 675 parents of young children, 95 of them with disability. The moderating effect of disability on burden and growth was examined using PROCESS. Compared to parents of children without disabilities, greater burden was found among parents of children with disabilities, but levels of growth were similar. External support was lacking for both parent groups. Educational services were perceived as severely inadequate. Lower perceived adequate educational services were associated with greater burden. On the other hand, higher levels of family functioning (i.e., family cohesion and adaptability) and greater adequacy of educational services were associated with growth. The results show that while burden was greater for parents of children with disabilities, growth during the COVID-19 period was possible for parents of both groups. The findings also pointed to the importance of the family system for sustaining the wellbeing of its members in lockdown situations. Put together, the findings highlight the importance of planning for such national and global emergencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1535-1546
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • COVID-19
  • Educational system
  • Israel
  • Parents
  • Supports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Burden and Growth during COVID-19: Comparing Parents of Children with and without Disabilities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this