The scientists are going to figure it out: Parent explanations in times of pandemic uncertainty

Jocelyn Dautel, Hannah Kramer, Kathleen Corriveau, Gordon Ingram, Camilo Orlando Moreno Romero, Jasmine DeJesus

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


How do parents across cultures explain illness transmission, especially when uncertain? We systematically explored parents’ explanations of the origins, spread, and mitigations of COVID-19 to children, and potential relation to parent-reported increases in children’s anxiety-related behaviors. Parents in Northern Ireland, USA, and Colombia completed a Prompted Explanation Task responding to four questions as if speaking to their child, and reported children’s anxiety-related behaviors. In Northern Ireland, mechanistic explanations were most common. As child age increased, parents were more likely to reference uncertainty (r= .26, p=.01), but uncertain responses also tended to be reassuring (r=.24, p=.02). Fewer parents provided dogmatic explanations, but when they did so they tended to be the only explanation provided, and were positively related to children’s anxious behaviors (r= .25, p=.02). Our poster will also include incoming data collected in the U.S. and Colombia, to explore social-cultural variations in caregiver explanations of illness under conditions of uncertainty.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted - Feb 2022
EventCognitive Development Society Biennial Conference 2022 - Madison, United States
Duration: 21 Apr 202223 Apr 2022


ConferenceCognitive Development Society Biennial Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleCDS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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