PACO – Psychological Adjustment to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The project PACO examined, how families with school aged children adapt to measures enforced to slow down the spread of the Corona virus. The core focus of this project was on parents’ daily experiences from late March until late April 2020.

Project Description

In early 2020, various measures were taken worldwide to slow down the spread of the novel corona virus. These measures (such as extensive contact and travel restrictions) have likely had a noticeable impact on all citizens’ daily lives. Adding to these restrictions, school closures represented another potential burden for families with school children. The aim of this project was to better understand parents’ adjustment to this unusual and for many individuals stressful situation. For this purpose, a longitudinal online study was conducted. More than 950 parents who lived in a household with a school-age child completed an initial online questionnaire in late March / early April 2020. More than 560 of them also took part in the second part of the study, in which parents’ experiences and well-being as well as information about the youngest schoolchild in the household were assessed every evening for three weeks. At the end of these three weeks, the first study period study ended with a final online questionnaire. This study design investigated which day-to-day experiences were related to differences in the parents’ adjustment across these three weeks. In November 2020 study participants were invited to fill in another online questionnaire. This second measurement wave tackled long-term effects of daily experiences during the early phase of the pandemic on parents’ and children’s development.

Project Objectives

  • Which daily experiences are associated with a successful adaptation to this new situation?
  • How do parents’ behaviors and experiences change across three weeks during the Covid-19 pandemic?
  • What is the role of homeschooling in this adaptation process?
  • How do daily experiences during the early phase of the pandemic affect families’ thoughts and feelings six months later?


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Dr. Annette Brose


Blume, F., Schmidt, A., Kramer, A. C., Schmiedek, F., & Neubauer, A. B. (2021). Homeschooling during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: The role of students’ trait self-regulation and task attributes of daily learning tasks for students’ daily self-regulation. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 24, 367–391. doi:10.1007/s11618-021-01011-w

Brose, A., Blanke, E. S., Schmiedek, F., Kramer, A. C., Schmidt, A., & Neubauer, A. B. (2021). Change in mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: The role of appraisals and daily life experiences. Journal of Personality, 89(3), 468–482. doi:10.1111/jopy.12592

Neubauer, A. B., Schmidt, A., Kramer, A. C., & Schmiedek, F. (2021). A little autonomy support goes a long way: Daily autonomy-supportive parenting, child well-being, parental need fulfillment, and change in child, family, and parent adjustment across the adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Child Development, 92(5), 1679–1697. doi:10.1111/cdev.13515

Schmidt, A., Brose, A., Kramer, A. C., Schmiedek, F., Witthöft, M., & Neubauer, A. B. (2021). Dynamic relations among COVID-19-related media exposure and worries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychology and Health. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/08870446.2021.1912345

Schmidt, A., Kramer, A. C., Brose, A., Schmiedek, F., & Neubauer, A. B. (2021). Distance learning, parent–child interactions, and affective well-being of parents and children during the COVID-19 pandemic: A daily diary study. Developmental Psychology, 57(10), 1719–1734. doi:10.1037/dev0001232

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Andreas Neubauer

Project Team

Project Details

Completed Projects
Department: Education and Human Development
03/2020 – 03/2021
Contact: Prof. Dr. Andreas Neubauer, Associated Researcher