The social determinants of health as predictors of adherence to public health preventive measures among parents and young children during the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal cohort study
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OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether social determinants of health (SDOH) are predictive of adherence to public health preventive measures and to describe changes in adherence over time among parents and children. METHODS: A longitudinal study was conducted in children aged 0-10 years and their parents through the TARGet Kids! COVID-19 Study in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada (April-July 2020). This study included 335 parents (2108 observations) and 416 children (2632 observations). Parents completed weekly questionnaires on health, family functioning, socio-demographics, and public health practices. The outcome was adherence to public health preventive measures measured separately for parents and children. Marginal log-binomial models were fitted using repeated measures of the outcome and predictors. RESULTS: Unemployment (RR 0.67, 95% CI: 0.47, 0.97), apartment living (RR 0.72, 95% CI: 0.53, 0.99), and essential worker in the household (RR 0.74, 95% CI: 0.55, 1.00) were associated with decreased likelihood of adherence among parents; however, no associations were observed for other SDOH, including family income and ethnicity. Furthermore, there was no strong evidence that SDOH were associated with child adherence. The mean number of days/week that parents and children adhered at the start of the study was 6.45 (SD = 0.93) and 6.59 (SD = 0.86), respectively, and this decreased to 5.80 (SD = 1.12) and 5.84 (SD = 1.23) by study end. Children consistently had greater adherence than parents. CONCLUSION: SDOH were predictive of adherence to public health preventive measures among parents but less so in children among our sample of relatively affluent urban families. Adherence was high among parents and children but decreased over time. Equitable approaches to support the implementation of public health guidelines may improve adherence.
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