Gender Differences in Couples’ Division of Childcare, Work and Mental Health During COVID-19

38 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2020

See all articles by María Prados

María Prados

University of Southern California

Gema Zamarro

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform; Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

Date Written: July 1, 2020

Abstract

The current COVID-19 crisis, with its associated school and daycare closures as well as social-distancing requirements, has the potential to magnify gender differences both in terms of childcare arrangements within the household and at work. We use data from a nationally representative sample of the United States from the Understanding Coronavirus in America tracking survey to understand gender differences within households on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. We study how fathers and mothers are coping with this crisis in terms of childcare provision, employment, working arrangements, and psychological distress levels. We find that women have carried a heavier load than men in the provision of childcare during the COVID-19 crisis, even while still working. Mothers’ current working situations appear to have a limited influence on their provision of childcare. This division of childcare is, however, associated with a reduction in working hours and an increased probability of transitioning out of employment for working mothers. Finally, we observe a small but new gap in psychological distress that emerged between mothers and women without school-age children in the household in early April. This new gap appears to be driven by higher levels of psychological distress reported by mothers of elementary school-age and younger children.

Suggested Citation

Prados, Maria and Zamarro, Gema, Gender Differences in Couples’ Division of Childcare, Work and Mental Health During COVID-19 (July 1, 2020). CESR-Schaeffer Working Paper No. 003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3667803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3667803

Maria Prados (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

HOME PAGE: http://dornsife.usc.edu/mprados/

Gema Zamarro

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

HOME PAGE: http://works.bepress.com/gema_zamarro/

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