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Media opportunity: Homeschooling during pandemic associated with more family interference in women’s work, and increased drinking among women and their partners: Dalhousie University study
For families across Canada and around the world, the pandemic disrupted most parts of their lives. From childcare to working from home, COVID-19 forced parents to alter their routines and take on new responsibilities. For many, that involved educating their kids at home.
A new study by researchers at Dalhousie University has found that may have come at a price.
The paper, recently published in Social Sciences, surveyed almost 800 couples across Canada about their experiences homeschooling their children and their alcohol consumption in April 2020 when schools were first closed due to the pandemic. The researchers were interested in finding out how that added responsibility might affect couple’s work–family conflict and alcohol use, and how that might break down along gender lines.
They found that the responsibility of educating kids at home during the pandemic fell largely to women. In addition, homeschooling couples experienced more conflict between family and work than couples who were not homeschooling, and this was particularly true for women with respect to family duties interfering with their work. Women who spent more time homeschooling tended to drink more frequently than women who did less homeschooling. And the more time women spent homeschooling, the more frequently their male partners drank. In contrast, the more time men spent homeschooling children, the less frequently women drank.
The authors suggest that school closures and the resulting loss of supports for parents may have substantial negative ramifications both for work–family conflict and drinking. They recommend families -- particularly women -- be provided with better mental health and alcohol-use supports, as well as educational assistance when schools are closed during large-scale viral outbreaks.
Danika DesRoches, a graduate student in Dalhousie’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and first author of the study, and Dr. Sherry Stewart, a professor in Dalhousie’s Department of Psychiatry and senior author of the study, are available to discuss the research and how women could benefit from men assuming a more equitable share of the homeschooling duties.
Senior Research Reporter
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