Motherhood and stress during COVID-19: exploring the moderating effects of employment
Yan, X., Sayer, L. C., Negraia, D. V., Rinderknecht, R. G.
, Doan, L., Drotning, K. J., Fish, J. N., Buck, C.
Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 1–21 (2022)
Using primary data from the Assessing the Social Consequences of COVID-19 study, the authors examined how the
pandemic affected the stress levels of women with and without coresiding minor children (mothers vs. nonmothers),
paying special attention to the moderating role of employment status. The ordinary least squares regression results
show that following the pandemic outbreak, among full-time working women, mothers reported smaller stress increases
than nonmothers. In contrast, among part-time and nonemployed women, mothers and nonmothers experienced
similar stress increases. Also, full-time working mothers reported smaller stress increases than women with most
other mothering and employment statuses. Changes in women’s employment status, following pandemic onset, had
limited impacts on the patterns of stress change. This study contributes to research on parenting and health by showing
that during times of crisis, full-time employment may be protective of mothers’ mental health but may not buffer the
mental health deterioration of women not raising children.
Keywords: health, inequality