Parental burnout is a growing subject of research, but thus far this research has not examined whether the features of parental burnout fluctuate over time. Moreover, parenting and parental burnout are inextricable from their family context. Therefore, a critical next step involves examining how parental burnout features interact with the ever-changing family environment. To do so, we developed an 11-item experience sampling methodology (ESM) tool to measure self-reported parental burnout features (specifically emotional exhaustion, emotional distance, and feeling fed up), as well as partner relationship, children’s behavior, behavior toward children, social support, and perceived resources. To ensure items were clearly phrased and covered the entirety of their construct via statements applicable to most parents daily, we sought feedback from parents (from the general population) and parental burnout experts. We also conducted two preliminary rounds of ESM data collection, one over a one-week period (n = 5) and a second over a two-week period (n = 9). Participating parents found the ESM survey easy to answer and not burdensome. Their results indicated sufficient within-person variability for all ESM items, supporting that these three parental burnout features fluctuate over time. We collected the ESM data using formr, an open-source platform, and we provide open access to all materials (including a formr template, allowing free use of the assessment tool) and data: https://osf.io/s2yv5/. Finally, we discuss how assessing parental burnout over time can help usher parental burnout research and treatment forward.
Background. Major Depression Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) often co-occur, but the neurocognitive mechanisms of this co-occurrence remain unknown. Prominent views have pointed to attentional processes as potent mechanisms at play in MDD and GAD, respectively. Yet uncertainty remains regarding the very nature of attentional impairments in patients with co-occurring MDD and GAD. Methods. Inspired by contemporary models of attentional networks, we examined the integrity of the three main attentional networks, namely the alerting, orienting, and executive control networks, in patients with co-occurring MDD and GAD (n = 30), MDD only (n = 30), GAD only (n = 30), or neither MDD or GAD (n = 30).Results. Patients with co-occurring MDD and GAD exhibited more severe impairments in the executive control network than those with only one of the disorders. There were no differences between the executive control networks of patients with solely MDD or solely GAD, but both groups showed significantly more severe impairment than those without either MDD and GAD. Limitations. The cross-sectional study design precludes strong inference regarding the cause-effect relationship between the executive control network and the co-occurrence of MDD and GAD. Conclusions. Our findings align with a longstanding staging approach to comorbidity whereby, via synergistic effects, co-occurring disorders yield greater damage than the sum of each disorder. Here, for the first time, we extended this approach to the executive control network of attention in the context of the co-occurrence between MDD and GAD.
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