Researchers from Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business have tracked the mental health impact of the pandemic on Ontario working parents in a new report which suggests women have been hit harder and the age of children hasn’t been a major factor in wellness.
Work, Family, Life During a Pandemic is part of a research project partially funded by Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division. The report focuses specifically on employed parents with dependent children, assessing three recognized indicators of well-being: perceived stress, anxiety and depressed mood.
The data was collected from weekly/bi-weekly interviews conducted between March and December 2020 with Ontario parents between 35 and 55 that have at least one child under the age of 19 living in their home.
“It is well-recognized that the pandemic is causing mental and emotional strain, which is often experienced as stress and anxiety,’’ says co-author Anita Grace, a Sprott postdoctoral fellow.
“Our research shows that stress and anxiety levels are not constant, but rather that they fluctuate over time. Our research also suggests that stress and anxiety are not experienced equally—women’s average stress and anxiety levels seem to be higher than men’s.”
This report, one of a planned series summarizing the impact of the pandemic, can help policy-makers understand key indicators of employee well-being over time and assist employers in supporting workers during and after COVID-19.
The entire report is available on the Sprott School of Business website.