When schools forced kids to stay home, parents reported an uptick in mental-health issues.
We’ve heard a lot about how school closings affect children, but what about parents left scrambling for child care and in-person learning options? In 2020, such disruptions disproportionately caused women to leave the labor market to take care of their children at home.
Using Census Bureau survey data, we found that pandemic-induced remote instruction made several mental-health outcomes worse for parents of school-age children. A 10-percentage-point increase in the share of public school districts going fully remote in a state was associated with about a 1-point increase in the proportion of parents reporting feelings of anxiety most days in the previous week. The same increase in remote instruction was associated with a 0.73-point increase in the proportion being worried, a 0.61-point increase in being depressed, and a 0.55-point increase in losing interest in daily activities.
Christos A. Makridis is an adjunct scholar at the Manhattan Institute. He is also a research professor at Arizona State University and the chief technology officer and head of research of Living Opera, an arts and education technology startup.
Corey DeAngelis is national director of research at the American Federation for Children and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.
Photo by insta_photos/iStock