Anxiety and trust in times of health crisis: How parents navigated health risks during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in Denmark

Barbara Fersch*, Anna Schneider-Kamp, Karen Nielsen Breidahl

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Abstrakt

In this article, we investigate how parents of children in primary school navigated risks in the context of COVID-19 mitigation policies during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Denmark, this group found itself at the front line of the reopening after an early lockdown, as primary schools were among the first institutions to reopen. This situation was discussed by the parents amid much controversy, which prompted us to investigate the strategies of different groups of parents within their institutional contexts. Based on qualitative interviews with 30 key informants, supplemented by a qualitative survey completed by 31 parents, collected between April and July 2020, we find three main types of strategies for dealing with pandemic health risks: (1) those involving trust, especially in schools and in teachers; (2) those primarily characterised by prioritising other aspects, such as the work-life balance; (3) and those containing overt or covert resistance strategies. Our findings demonstrate the pivotal role of the perceived trustworthiness of institutions (mainly schools) and professionals (mainly teachers) at the frontline for shaping parental risk navigation strategies. As our sample included asylum seekers whose resistance – unlike that of other parents employing resistance strategies – was met by an intervention, our analysis also sheds light on how social exclusion manifests itself in the Danish welfare state context during a pandemic.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftHealth, Risk & Society
Vol/bind24
Udgave nummer1-2
Sider (fra-til)36-53
Antal sider18
ISSN1369-8575
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2022

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