Advances in Mental Health and Well-Being in Children

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This special issue belongs to the section "Child and Adolescent Psychiatry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 August 2024 | Viewed by 6690

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Psychology Research Centre (CIP-UAL), 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
2. Department of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
Interests: at-risk family context assessment; family preservation; positive parenting; evidence-based interventions; well-being in children and adolescence
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mental disorders are the largest cause of the burden of disease in the world. Evidence is accumulating on the broad impact that the well-being one has during childhood and adolescence has on physical and mental health across the course of a lifetime. In fact, most of the disease burden affecting adults has its onset during childhood and adolescence.

There is a growing concern about the mental health and well-being of children, with increasing demand for counselling services and referrals to mental health services. It has been well established in the existing literature that children and young people who experience positive support from parents and teachers may develop psychological resilience. Children and adolescents with higher levels of psychological well-being have higher levels of academic achievement; they are also more likely to have a higher level of engagement in school life and satisfaction in their later life, and they are usually more productive workers.

Family factors, including the quality of parental care, can make a huge difference to children’s early life pathways, for better or for worse. Understanding how best to intervene to support parents is a key challenge. Thus, there is a strong need to expand our knowledge on how to reduce risk factors and promote protective environments.

Considering the success and popularity of the Special Issue "Mental Health and Well-Being in Children", previously published in the Children journal (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/children/special_issues/Mental_Health_and_Well-being_in_Children), we are now set to release a second Special Issue that aims to address this topic by inviting scholars to share their findings, perspectives, and approaches, with the aim of promoting child mental health and well-being. Qualitative or quantitative contributions from basic or applied research that will improve the knowledge on key topics within this field are welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Cristina Nunes
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • children
  • well-being
  • mental health
  • parenting
  • family support
  • evidence-based interventions
  • resilience
  • risk factors
  • protective factors

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 1213 KiB  
Article
Family Resilience and Children’s Subjective Well-Being: A Two-Wave Study
by Andreja Brajša-Žganec, Marija Džida and Maja Kućar
Children 2024, 11(4), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11040442 - 7 Apr 2024
Viewed by 726
Abstract
According to the Theory of Change, the resilience of the family unit plays a crucial role in shaping the developmental trajectory of children. Families exhibiting higher levels of family resilience are typically characterized by transparent and effective communication, optimistic outlooks on adversity, adept [...] Read more.
According to the Theory of Change, the resilience of the family unit plays a crucial role in shaping the developmental trajectory of children. Families exhibiting higher levels of family resilience are typically characterized by transparent and effective communication, optimistic outlooks on adversity, adept problem-solving skills, strong spiritual beliefs, and effective management of social and financial resources. While existing research has indicated that parental and familial characteristics can predict diverse outcomes for children, investigations concerning the association between family resilience and children’s subjective well-being remains limited. Therefore, this study aims to examine whether different dimensions of family resilience can predict changes in children’s subjective well-being, tested one year later. The sample includes 762 child-mother-father triads (intact families). Children aged 9–13 years (48% boys, age = 11.04, SD = 1.16) assessed their life satisfaction, positive and negative affect in two study waves, while mothers and fathers assessed family resilience in the first wave. A dyadic data common fate model was employed to create latent variables representing family resilience. Three latent variables were: family problem-solving, family spirituality, and utilization of social and economic resources. Findings from the structural equation model indicated a positive association between higher levels of family problem-solving and increased children’s life satisfaction, alongside a negative relationship between higher family spirituality and negative affect. Parental assessments of social and economic resources utilization were not uniquely related to children’s life satisfaction, positive, or negative affect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mental Health and Well-Being in Children)
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16 pages, 760 KiB  
Article
Parental Involvement and Stress in Children’s Quality of Life: A Longitudinal Study with Portuguese Parents during the COVID-19 Pandemic Period
by Helena Mocho, Cátia Martins, Rita dos Santos and Cristina Nunes
Children 2024, 11(4), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11040440 - 6 Apr 2024
Viewed by 764
Abstract
Parental involvement (PI) has particular relevance on children’s academic adjustment and on children’s general quality of life (QoL). QoL can be influenced by parental stress, specifically the stress suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, this study aimed to analyze the differences during the [...] Read more.
Parental involvement (PI) has particular relevance on children’s academic adjustment and on children’s general quality of life (QoL). QoL can be influenced by parental stress, specifically the stress suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, this study aimed to analyze the differences during the pandemic period (before, after and with no lockdown), comparing these constructs with parental educational level to provide predictors of their children’s quality of life. Data collection was performed with a non-probability convenience sampling procedure. It was composed of 129 parents, mainly women (71.8%), with children aged between 6 and 12 years. The family’s sociodemographic characteristics were assessed, as well as the PI, parental stress, and children’s QoL. The comparison between the three times revealed an increase in the children’s QoL, but no differences were found in PI. Based on the parental educational level, as defined by academic qualifications and split into superior and non-superior levels, it is possible conclude that engagement in school activities and parents’ meetings increased in the parents with superior education levels and decreased in the parents with lower education levels. This study concluded that despite this difficult and uncertain pandemic period, these parents were able to maintain important aspects of their children’s lives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mental Health and Well-Being in Children)
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17 pages, 533 KiB  
Article
Parental Burnout and Child Behavior: A Preliminary Analysis of Mediating and Moderating Effects of Positive Parenting
by Aline Woine, María Josefina Escobar, Carolina Panesso, Dorota Szczygieł, Moïra Mikolajczak and Isabelle Roskam
Children 2024, 11(3), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11030353 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 959
Abstract
Despite its significant growth over the past fifteen years, research on parental burnout is just beginning to explore the relationships of the syndrome with child behavior. Previous research with adolescents has shown the existence of associations between parental burnout and internalizing and externalizing [...] Read more.
Despite its significant growth over the past fifteen years, research on parental burnout is just beginning to explore the relationships of the syndrome with child behavior. Previous research with adolescents has shown the existence of associations between parental burnout and internalizing and externalizing behaviors in the offspring. The current study is an attempt to (i) replicate this preliminary evidence specifically among Chilean preschool children and (ii) explore the mediating/moderating effects of positive parenting that may be involved in these putative associations. A sample of 383 Chilean mothers participated in this cross-sectional online study. The results confirmed the associations between parental burnout and child internalizing and externalizing behaviors. We also observed that positive parenting was a mediator in the relationship linking parental burnout and the child’s internalizing (full mediation) and externalizing (partial mediation) behaviors. Positive parenting also partially mediated the association between the child’s externalizing behavior and parental burnout. Our results further suggested that the child’s externalizing behavior was possibly a more substantial contributing factor to parental burnout than the child’s internalizing behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mental Health and Well-Being in Children)
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11 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Parental Attachment and Psychosocial Adjustment in Adolescents Exposed to Marital Conflict
by Jesús Maya, Isabel Fuentes, Ana Isabel Arcos-Romero and Lucía Jiménez
Children 2024, 11(3), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11030291 - 29 Feb 2024
Viewed by 841
Abstract
(1) Background: Interparental conflict is a phenomenon that poses a serious threat not only to the quality of life of the couple but also to the father–child relationship, mother–child relationship, and well-being of adolescents. This study examined the difference in parental attachment and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Interparental conflict is a phenomenon that poses a serious threat not only to the quality of life of the couple but also to the father–child relationship, mother–child relationship, and well-being of adolescents. This study examined the difference in parental attachment and adjustment in adolescents exposed to marital conflict versus those not exposed to parental conflicts in low-income areas. (2) Methods: 67 adolescents involved in Child Welfare Services (CWS) in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in southern Spain were examined. The sample was split into two groups according to the exposure to marital conflict. Subsequently, differences between groups were analysed on father attachment, mother attachment, aggression, antisocial behaviour, and emotional intelligence. (3) Results: Primarily, the data showed significantly worse attachment with the father among conflict-exposed versus non-conflict-exposed adolescents. These results were not found for the attachment with the mother. Additionally, greater anger and worse stress management were found in conflict-exposed adolescents. (4) Conclusions: The results partially confirmed the spillover and compensatory hypothesis. Practical implications point out that developing preventive interventions that protect the father–adolescent attachment in situations of family conflict is recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mental Health and Well-Being in Children)
17 pages, 397 KiB  
Article
Attachment-Based Mentalization Profiles of Iranian Children: A Mixed-Method Approach
by Masoumeh Zandpour, Majse Lind, Carla Sharp, Jafar Hasani, Farzin Bagheri Sheykhangafshe and Jessica L. Borelli
Children 2024, 11(2), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11020258 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 891
Abstract
Mentalization, operationalized as reflective functioning (RF), is the ability to understand one’s own and another’s mental world implicitly or explicitly. RF is a newly discovered research field in Iran and is largely under-studied in Eastern cultures in general, underscoring the high need for [...] Read more.
Mentalization, operationalized as reflective functioning (RF), is the ability to understand one’s own and another’s mental world implicitly or explicitly. RF is a newly discovered research field in Iran and is largely under-studied in Eastern cultures in general, underscoring the high need for cross-cultural studies in this field of research. A qualitative method was used to examine the ability to understand, process, and respond to high-arousal attachment situations in typical and clinical populations of Iranian children recruited from a Tehran primary school. A well-known semi-structured interview commonly used to assess RF in children was used to collect data. Required information on internalizing and externalizing symptoms, demographic information, and all formal diagnoses of children were collected by parents. The results indicated the identification of four different profiles of RF in children, one of which was adaptive, while the other three were maladaptive. Also, the results showed that typically developing children and those having a high social and economic status (SES) were characterized as having a more adaptive profile of RF, while children from the clinical population and those with a low SES reported a more maladaptive profile (passive mentalizing, helpless mentalizing, narcissistic mentalizing) of RF. The present study is an important step in increasing our understanding of the development of mentalization in children and has significant educational and clinical implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mental Health and Well-Being in Children)
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15 pages, 295 KiB  
Article
Impact of Child and Family Factors on Caregivers’ Mental Health and Psychological Distress during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Greece
by Dimitrios Papadopoulos
Children 2024, 11(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11010007 - 20 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1793
Abstract
Although primary caregivers of children with developmental disabilities (DDs) experience higher levels of distress than primary caregivers of typically developing children do, this problem has received limited attention in Greece. Therefore, this study examined mental health and associated factors among primary caregivers of [...] Read more.
Although primary caregivers of children with developmental disabilities (DDs) experience higher levels of distress than primary caregivers of typically developing children do, this problem has received limited attention in Greece. Therefore, this study examined mental health and associated factors among primary caregivers of children with and without DDs in Greece during the COVID-19 pandemic. This cross-sectional study included 156 participants. Primary caregivers completed a self-report survey on sociodemographic characteristics, the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 items, and the 12-item General Health Questionnaire. Primary caregivers of children with DDs, particularly mothers, reported more mental health problems and higher levels of psychological distress than the control group. Among families parenting a child with disabilities, caregivers’ psychological distress was significantly related to having a child with autism spectrum disorder and the severity of the child’s behavioral difficulties. Significant predictors of caregivers’ distress were the parent being female, the child being male, a single-parent family, a lower income, and higher depressive symptoms. Caregivers raising children with DDs face unique challenges in terms of care, necessitating the development of family-based interventions to improve the social-emotional well-being and overall quality of life for both parents and children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mental Health and Well-Being in Children)
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