FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted women’s stress levels, in particular, a new study found.

The study was conducted by the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Office of Community Health & Research and published by “Dialogues in Health.” According to a press release, various factors that affected women in Arkansas were analyzed, particularly working women in caregiver roles.

According to the World Health Organization, women, especially front-line workers, are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia, and burnout than their male counterparts due to COVID-19 exposure and the physical and emotional costs of being overworked.

Researchers found that participants reported the following four primary sources of stress:

  • Employment and Expenses: Women reported employment disruptions and loss of income as the primary source of stress. Women in essential roles or front-line workers reported that the stress of being overworked and witnessing the pandemic up close significantly impacted their emotional and physical health.
  • Social Distancing and Quarantine: Women reported that the lack of social engagement and isolation increased their stress because they lost the outlets that they once used to relieve stress and find enjoyment.
  • Caregiving: Women in a caregiver role reported that the stress of balancing work and home life left them overwhelmed and with feelings of burnout. Women reported they were also stressed about the impact the virus had on their family members.
  • Emotional and Mental Health: Women reported that their emotional and mental health suffered directly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They reported higher levels of anxiety and fear for their loved ones as well as depression from being isolated. Women also reported their frustration as a stressor affecting their emotional and mental health because of the lack of direction from both state and federal governments and people who refused to adhere to COIVD-19 guidelines.

These findings contribute important distinctions about women’s experiences and their increased stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which can better inform future responses to public health pandemics. Understanding how the pandemic impacted women’s daily stress will identify gender disparities and help reduce the impact of the pandemic and future pandemics on women’s mental health.”

Rachel Purvis, Ph.D, assistant professor in the Office of Community Health & Research and a lead researcher on the study

For resources on managing stress, contact your primary care provider or visit www.humanservices.arkansas.gov.