Lockdown in France: Impact on Families of Young Children With Special Needs - Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès Access content directly
Journal Articles Frontiers in Psychology Year : 2022

Lockdown in France: Impact on Families of Young Children With Special Needs


Background Families with young children have faced serious challenges during the first lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to remote working, parents have had to monitor their children’s schoolwork and manage their daily lives. When one of the children also has neuro-developmental disorders, this results in an increased burden. We can therefore wonder how these families with one or more young children (under 6 years old) with special needs have experienced and dealt with this lockdown. Aim of the Study In this context, the “COVJEUNENFANT” study focused more specifically on the subjective experience, as a parent, of those who cared for children with special needs (i.e., with developmental disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, proven disabilities or chronic health conditions) compared to the general population. We wished to see if the consequences of the health crisis were significantly different from those perceived by respondents in the general population ( n = 490) and if the sociodemographic structure of these families differed from those of other respondents. Methods Ninety three French families with at least one child under 6 years old and one with developmental difficulties or a chronic illness, from a cohort of 490 control families, participated in a web-based survey during the first lockdown, from the 28th April 2020 to 29th May 2020. Results After presenting the participants’ sociodemographic characteristics, the results show that these French families ( n = 93) are less wealthy than the control population “without special needs” ( n = 397), have felt more pressures originating from their environment (families, friends, colleagues, media, social networks…), have suffered from more health issues (other than COVID-19), have taken more measures to protect themselves (social-distancing), and were less likely to feel happy. A significantly larger number of them lamented the lack of free time and voiced a larger need for information regarding children’s education. However, their parental role was felt as being more satisfying and their family relations strengthened more than in the general population of participants. Conclusion It is apparent that urgent prioritisation is needed in order to support and care for these families by continuing to provide care for their children in one way or another, and by ensuring that their need to adapt again does not exceed their own abilities and resources, especially as young children, who have high levels of requirements, are present in the home.



Dates and versions

hal-03652592 , version 1 (26-04-2022)



Stéphanie Pinel-Jacquemin, Amalia Martinez, Maud Martinasso, Valerie Katkoff, Thiébaut-Noël Willig, et al.. Lockdown in France: Impact on Families of Young Children With Special Needs. Frontiers in Psychology, 2022, 13, ⟨10.3389/fpsyg.2022.781030⟩. ⟨hal-03652592⟩
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