Though the COVID-19 pandemic required significant changes and adaptations for most Americans, parents faced acute challenges as they had to navigate rapidly changing schooling and child care policies requiring their children to spend more time at home. This study examines the effects of COVID-19 school and workplace policies as well as environmental and economic characteristics on parental mental health, worry, hopelessness, and anxiety. Using data from four waves of the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey and regression analysis, we explore associations between parents’ mental health, worry, hopelessness, and anxiety and school learning environment, child grade and learning disability, employment characteristics, and sociodemographic factors. We find that having a child attend a private school or school with above average instructional quality was associated with better mental health of parents. Hybrid schooling options offering both in-person and online learning was associated with poor parental mental health, as was working from home. Being female or experiencing job or income loss were associated with worse mental health while having older children, a bachelor’s degree, or high income were associated with better mental health. Results can help inform school and workplace family supports as well as opportunities to reduce mental health strains at home from various policy options.
Moreland-Russell, Sarah, Jason Jabbari, Dan Ferris, and Stephen Roll. 2022. “At Home and on the Brink: U.S. Parents’ Mental Health during COVID-19” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 9: 5586. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095586