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Emotional and Financial Health During COVID‐19: The Role of Housework, Employment and Childcare in in Australia and the United States

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Version 2 2023-09-07, 01:08
Version 1 2021-07-28, 01:24
journal contribution
posted on 2021-07-28, 01:24 authored by Leah Ruppanner, Xiao Tan, Andrea CarsonAndrea Carson, Shaun Ratcliff
During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world witnessed major economic, school and daycare closures. We sampled respondents in Australia and the U.S. during the height of the first restrictions to understand how the first quarantine structured their emotional strain and financial worry (825 Australians and 835 Americans aged between 18–65; May 2–3, 2020; source YouGov). We apply structural equation modeling to demonstrate that the emotional well-being impacts of COVID-19 are not only gendered but also vary between childless people and parents. Specifically, we show that compared to Australians, Americans were more impacted by changes in their financial circumstances. Further, while the financial worry and emotional strain impacts were similar between childless people and parents in Australia, significant differences existed between the two groups in the United States. In particular, we identify American mothers as the most disadvantaged group–feeling the most anxious and financially worried about both employment and domestic changes under COVID-19. Policy wise, we argue that COVID-19 is exacerbating gender inequality in emotional health. To slow down this trend, more adequate mental health supports are needed, particularly for mothers.


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Gender, Work & Organization

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