The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have had a disproportionate impact on families with young children, especially with disabilities. This study examined factors associated with burden and growth among parents of young children in Israel, while comparing parents of children with and without disabilities. We hypothesized that the association between family functioning, informal social support, and perceived adequacy of educational services and burden and growth would be moderated by disabilities. An online questionnaire was completed by 675 parents of young children, 95 of them with disability. The moderating effect of disability on burden and growth was examined using PROCESS. Compared to parents of children without disabilities, greater burden was found among parents of children with disabilities, but levels of growth were similar. External support was lacking for both parent groups. Educational services were perceived as severely inadequate. Lower perceived adequate educational services were associated with greater burden. On the other hand, higher levels of family functioning (i.e., family cohesion and adaptability) and greater adequacy of educational services were associated with growth. The results show that while burden was greater for parents of children with disabilities, growth during the COVID-19 period was possible for parents of both groups. The findings also pointed to the importance of the family system for sustaining the wellbeing of its members in lockdown situations. Put together, the findings highlight the importance of planning for such national and global emergencies.
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- Educational system