Motherhood and Stress During COVID-19: Exploring the Moderating Effects of Employment
Xu Yan, Liana Sayer1, Long Doan, R. Gordon Rinderknecht2, Kelsey Drotning3, Jessica N. Fish3, Clayton Buck3
1University of Maryland, 2Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, 3University of Maryland, College Park

This paper examines the impacts of COVID-19 on the stress levels of women with different motherhood and employment statuses. Using data from the Assessing the Social Consequences of COVID-19 (ASCC) study, we explore how the stress levels of mothers living with and without non-adult children have changed before and during COVID-19. We pay special attention to if and how the association between motherhood status and change in stress levels varies by women’s employment conditions. Our analysis shows mothers living with non-adult children experience smaller increases in stress during COVID-19 than women without coresidential children, but the difference is not statistically significant. Regardless of their employment status during COVID-19, mothers who were employed full-time before the pandemic experienced smaller increases in stress than their peers without coresidential children. Whereas among women who were part-time or non-employed before the pandemic, it is mother who experienced greater increases in stress.