Preschooler Stressor-Related Thoughts and Worries During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Development and Validation of a Caregiver-Report Instrument

Mira Vasileva, Meghan L. Marsac, Eva Alisic, Vanessa E. Cobham, Seetha H. Davis, Caroline Donovan, Aimee K. Hildenbrand, Elisabeth Hoehn, Sonja March, Alisa B. Miller, Tess Smith-Thomas, Rachel Wamser-Nanney, Alexandra De Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is little evidence on cognitions that are associated with emotional and behavioral problems in preschoolers during stressful events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This article presents the initial development and validation of a caregiver-report instrument, the Preschooler Stressor-related Thoughts and Worries (PSTW) scale, developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, caregivers from two countries reported on their child’s cognitions at baseline (T0) and three months later (T1; age 3–5 years; Australia: N = 559; United States: N = 346). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted with the Australian sample at T0 and confirmed with the U.S. sample at T0. Exploratory factor analysis suggested a one-factor model including 10 items. Results of the confirmatory factor analysis failed to clearly support this structure (comparative fit index =.91, root mean square error of approximation =.11). Construct validity was supported by positive associations between PSTW scores and emotional and behavioral problems. Although the PSTW is a promising instrument to assess preschooler cognitions related to COVID-19, further investigation of its performance in other contexts (e.g., other countries, other stressful or traumatic events) is needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTraumatology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Cognitions
  • Covid-19
  • Negative appraisals
  • Preschooler
  • Worries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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