FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A new study shows how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the mental health of women in Arkansas.

The UAMS study, published in the journal Dialogues in Health, involved the participation of over 500 women who lived, worked or received healthcare in Arkansas during the height of the pandemic. 97 percent of them reported that the pandemic created stress in their lives.

When asked about what contributed to that stress, a majority said impacts on family members, health concerns, and social distancing often led to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Just below that, nearly half said major stressors were financial concerns and impact on work.

A UAMS press release says what makes this study the first of its kind on the subject is that it went beyond the numbers to ask women why they responded the way they did.

“That adds a lot of nuanced understanding,” says researcher Rachel Purvis. “We can then take [that] to inform health policy for future pandemic response, or increasing access to greater healthcare for women.”

Purvis says another policy lawmakers may want to consider is easier access to childcare, which could help the over 22 percent of Arkansas women who either lost their job during the period of the study, or had their work hours reduced.

You can read the full study here.