Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Stacey Doan

Reader 2

Stacey Wood

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2021 Priya R Kareti


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a wide range of drastic changes for parents. Through the pandemic, parents have reported heightened levels of stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, and worse sleep, all of which have been shown to lead to less responsive parenting. Furthermore, the pandemic is a unique, chronic, and traumatic stressor, and its effects on parenting are still being studied. Thus, it is important to gain insight on how adverse life events during the COVID-19 pandemic impact parenting, namely how a parent conceptualizes their child. The present study uses previously measured salivary cortisol levels and analyzes its effects on the relationship between adverse life events in the COVID-19 pandemic and mind-minded parenting. Participants include 86 mothers (Mage= 35.50 years, SD = 5.38) recruited from a previous study on relationships, emotions, and health. Results show basal hyperactivity of the HPA axis (AUCg) is a significant moderator in the relationship between adverse life events experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and mind-minded parenting in the pandemic. Specifically, the relationship between stressful life events and mind-minded parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic depends on cumulative cortisol such that more stressful life events lead to more mind-minded parenting at high levels of cumulative cortisol. This finding depicts that an appropriate response to stress is beneficial and healthy. In addition, the results display an interesting connection between the mind and body, such that biophysiological responses can impact psychological states and behavior.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.