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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0247959

Gender differences in unpaid care work and psychological distress in the UK Covid-19 lockdown.

04 Mar 2021-PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science)-Vol. 16, Iss: 3, pp 1-15
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To describe how men and women divided childcare and housework demands during the height of the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, and whether these divisions were associated with worsening mental health during the pandemic. BACKGROUND: School closures and homeworking during the Covid-19 crisis have resulted in an immediate increase in unpaid care work, which draws new attention to gender inequality in divisions of unpaid care work. METHODS: Data come from the wave 9 (2017-19) of Understanding Society and the following April (n = 15,426) and May (n = 14,150) waves of Understanding Society Covid-19 study. Psychological distress was measured using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) at both before and during the lockdown, and unpaid care work was measured during the lockdown. Linear regression models were used. RESULTS: Women spent much more time on unpaid care work than men during lockdown, and it was more likely to be the mother than the father who reduced working hours or changed employment schedules due to increased time on childcare. Women who spent long hours on housework and childcare were more likely to report increased levels of psychological distress. Working parents who adapted their work patterns increased more psychological distress than those who did not. This association was much stronger if he or she was the only member in the household who adapted their work patterns, or if she was a lone mother. Fathers increased more psychological distress if they reduced work hours but she did not, compared to neither reducing work hours. CONCLUSION: There are continued gender inequalities in divisions of unpaid care work. Juggling home working with homeschooling and childcare as well as extra housework is likely to lead to poor mental health for people with families, particularly for lone mothers.

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Topics: Care work (58%), Mental health (52%)
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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/IJERPH18115651
Alessio Gori1, Eleonora Topino2Institutions (2)
Abstract: This study aimed at investigating the psychological effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy by analysing the trends of perceived stress, post-traumatic symptoms, state anxiety, worry, and civic moral disengagement in four different moments from March 2020 to March 2021. The study involved a total of 1827 Italian participants (30% men and 70% women; Mage = 34.72; SD = 12.40) divided into four groups to which an online survey was administered. The first group completed the survey in March 2020, the second one in August 2020, the third one in November 2020, and the fourth one in March 2021. Results highlighted significant decreases in post-traumatic symptoms and a significant increase in civic moral disengagement over the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The levels of perceived stress, worry, and state anxiety remained constant. The correlations between the variables at different times were also explored, as well as gender differences over the year. The COVID-19 emergency has had significant effects on the mental state of the population, with important repercussions for individual and collective well-being during but probably also after the pandemic. This study offers a clear snapshot of the psychological outcomes over one COVID-19 pandemic year, providing important information that may contribute to tailor more effective interventions for mental health.

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Topics: Worry (56%), Moral disengagement (55%), Anxiety (54%) ... show more

2 Citations


Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.05.13.21256805
Jo Dawes1, Tom May1, Alison McKinlay1, Daisy Fancourt1  +1 moreInstitutions (1)
14 May 2021-medRxiv
Abstract: BackgroundParents have faced unique challenges during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, including mobility constraints, isolation measures, working from home, and the closure of schools and childcare facilities. There is presently a lack of in-depth qualitative research exploring how these changes have affected parents mental health and wellbeing. MethodsSemi-structured qualitative interviews with 29 parents of young children. Interviews were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. ResultsWe identified five superordinate themes affecting participant mental health and wellbeing: 1) navigation of multiple responsibilities and change inside the home; 2) disruption to home life; 3) changes to usual support networks; 4) changes in personal relationships; and 5) use of coping strategies. Participants described stress and exhaustion from navigating multiple pressures and conflicting responsibilities with home, schooling, and work, without their usual support networks and in the context of disrupted routines. Family roles and relationships were sometimes tested, however, many parents identified coping strategies that protected their wellbeing including access to outdoor space, spending time away from family, and avoiding conflict and pandemic-related media coverage. ConclusionsEmployers must be cognisant of the challenges that the pandemic has placed on parents, particularly women and lone parents. Flexible working arrangements and support might therefore relieve stress and increase productivity. Coping strategies identified by parents in this study could be harnessed and encouraged by employers and policymakers to promote positive wellbeing during times of stress throughout the pandemic and beyond.

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Topics: Mental health (53%), Thematic analysis (52%), Qualitative research (51%) ... show more

2 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/IJERPH18083992
Abstract: This study investigated the impact of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and psychological status among Saudi adults, and whether physical activity modifies this association. The participants were 518 adults aged ≥18 years (67.4% men). Using an online survey, data regarding demographic information, the impact of COVID-19 (assessed by the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5), HRQoL (Short Form-8), psychological distress (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale), and physical activity behavior (International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Short Form) were collected. The results demonstrate that adults reporting moderate or high levels of impact of COVID-19 had a lower HRQoL and higher psychological distress than adults reporting a low impact. HRQoL was higher for adults reporting any level impact (low, moderate, or high) of COVID-19 when they participated in recommended levels of physical activity (≥600 metabolic equivalent (MET)-min/week of total physical activity). Psychological distress was lower for adults reporting a high level of impact when they participated in recommended physical activity. Moderate or high levels of impact of COVID-19 were associated with a significantly lower HRQoL and higher psychological distress than the low impact of COVID-19. However, these associations were moderated by the recommended levels of physical activity.

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Topics: Metabolic equivalent (53%), Quality of life (51%)

2 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1136/BMJ.N1972
Soraya Seedat1, Marta RondonInstitutions (1)
31 Aug 2021-BMJ
Abstract: Soraya Seedat and Marta Rondon examine how gender inequities in the time allocated to unpaid work, exacerbated by covid-19, are affecting women’s mental health

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Topics: Unpaid work (56%)

1 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0259580
08 Nov 2021-PLOS ONE
Abstract: A lockdown implies a shift from the public to the private sphere, and from market to non-market production, thereby increasing the volume of unpaid work. Already before the pandemic, unpaid work was disproportionately borne by women. This paper studies the effect of working from home for pay (WFH), due to a lockdown, on the change in the division of housework and childcare within couple households. While previous studies on the effect of WFH on the reconciliation of work and family life and the division of labour within the household suffered from selection bias, we are able to identify this effect by drawing upon the shock of the first COVID-19 lockdown in Austria. The corresponding legal measures left little choice over WFH. In any case, WFH is exogenous, conditional on a small set of individual and household characteristics we control for. We employ data from a survey on the gendered aspects of the lockdown. The dataset includes detailed information on time use during the lockdown and on the quality and experience of WFH. Uniquely, this survey data also includes information on the division, and not only magnitude, of unpaid work within households. Austria is an interesting case in this respect as it is characterized by very conservative gender norms. The results reveal that the probability of men taking on a larger share of housework increases if men are WFH alone or together with their female partner. By contrast, the involvement of men in childcare increased only in the event that the female partner was not able to WFH. Overall, the burden of childcare, and particularly homeschooling, was disproportionately borne by women.

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Topics: Unpaid work (53%), Family life (52%)

1 Citations


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31 results found


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.5465/AMR.1985.4277352
Abstract: An examination of the literature on conflict between work and family roles suggests that work-family conflict exists when: (a) time devoted to the requirements of one role makes it difficult to fulfill requirements of another; (b) strain from participation in one role makes it difficult to fulfill requirements of another; and (c) specific behaviors required by one role make it difficult to fulfill the requirements of another. A model of work-family conflict is proposed, and a series of research propositions is presented.

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Topics: Conflict management (62%), Role conflict (60%), Work–family conflict (59%) ... show more

6,015 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.2307/2136956
Abstract: This paper presents a critical overview of current concepts and analytic practices in stress research and considers how they can be changed to make the research more consistent with core sociological interests. An overarching concern of the paper is the analytic use of basic information about people's social and institutional affiliations and statuses. It is important that such information be treated not simply as data that need to be controlled statistically; we must examine the bearing of these data on each domain of the stress process: the exposure to and meaning of stressors, access to stress mediators, and the psychological, physical, and behavioral manifestations of stress. The conceptualization and measurement of stressors should move away from their focus on particular events or chronic strains and should seek instead to observe and assess over time constellations of stressors made up of both events and strains. Moreover, the effects of the mediators--coping and social support--are evaluated most fruitfully in terms of their effects in limiting the number, severity, and diffusion of stressors in these constellations. Finally, sociological stress researchers should not be bound to outcomes that better serve the intellectual interests of those who work with biomedical and epidemiological models of stress, nor should the research be committed exclusively to a single outcome.

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Topics: Conceptualization (51%)

2,660 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1037//1076-8998.5.1.111
Abstract: Ecological theory was used to develop a more expanded conceptualization of the work-family interface and to identify significant correlates of multiple dimensions of work-family spillover. Using data from employed adults participating in the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (N = 1,986), negative spillover from work to family, positive spillover from work to family, negative spillover from family to work, and positive spillover from family to work were found to be distinct work-family experiences. Analyses indicated that work and family factors that facilitated development (e.g., decision latitude, family support) were associated with less negative and more positive spillover between work and family. By contrast, work and family barriers (e.g., job pressure, family disagreements) were associated with more negative spillover and less positive spillover between work and family. In some cases, results differ significantly by gender.

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Topics: Spillover effect (61%), Work–family conflict (56%), Family support (53%) ... show more

1,620 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1111/J.1741-3729.2002.00028.X
01 Jan 2002-Family Relations
Abstract: Work–family research employing nationally representative samples and multiple methods of data collection is uncommon. We used data from two affiliated national surveys to examine the distribution of work–family spillover among working adults. The National Study of Daily Experiences (n= 741), an 8-day daily diary study using a subsample of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS; N= 2,130), allowed work–family spillover to be conceptualized and operationalized in different ways. Analyses testing family life course hypotheses indicated that self-reported negative and positive spillover between work and family were not randomly distributed within the labor force. Age was found to have a persistent curvilinear effect on negative spillover between work and family. The prevalence of co-occurring work and family stress reported over 8 days was comparable across nearly all the sociodemographic characteristics.

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Topics: Family life (56%), Spillover effect (52%)

504 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.5271/SJWEH.3388
Akira Bannai1, Akiko Tamakoshi1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Objectives Many studies have investigated the association between long working hours and health. By focusing on differences in the definition of long working hours and the influence of shift work, we attempt to explain why the results of these studies remain inconclusive. Methods We defined long working hours as working time greater than around 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day. Since previous studies have indicated that shift work is detrimental to health, we minimized the influence of shift work in the studies. We also placed importance on the existence of reference groups since this made the results clearer. Based on these points, we analyzed previous studies to clarify the epidemiological evidence regarding the association between long working hours and health. We established inclusion criteria and carried out a systematic search for articles published in the Medline and PsycINFO databases between 1995–2012. Results We identified a total of 17 articles and 19 studies (12 prospective cohort and 7 cross-sectional studies). The outcomes were all-cause mortality, circulatory disease, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, depressive state, anxiety, other psychological disorders, sleep condition, cognitive function, and health-related behavior. Long working hours had significant adverse effects on most health outcomes. Conclusions We concluded that working long hours is associated with depressive state, anxiety, sleep condition, and coronary heart disease. However, further studies that appropriately deal with the definition of long working hours and shift work are needed.

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Topics: Shift work (56%), Working time (50%)

338 Citations