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Teleworking throughout the pandemic linked to higher parenting stress, especially for fathers

Forty percent of oldsters who worked remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic reported higher parenting stress compared with only 27 percent of oldsters who worked onsite, reports a brand new survey from scientists at Northwestern University and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Kid’s Hospital of Chicago.

The study results revealed a gender difference: Fathers who worked from home were twice as prone to report that parenting was stressful all or more often than not in comparison with fathers who worked onsite. Parenting stress for moms who worked at home was barely higher, nevertheless it didn’t reach statistical significance.

The study found no differences in mental or general health between parents who worked remotely or onsite.

Our survey results show that teleworking throughout the pandemic was related to more parenting stress, especially for fathers. This may be a mirrored image of societal expectations that men should prioritize work obligations over family needs, which creates additional stress for fathers working from home.”

Dr. John James Parker, lead creator, assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and pediatrician at Lurie Kid’s

The study might be published Nov. 3 in JAMA Network Open.

What parents can do

The study authors recommend parents reflect on their family and work situation and check out to search out an arrangement that limits stress and promotes wellbeing.

“This could be so simple as putting a noise-cancelling machine within the workspace, rearranging schedules to limit distractions and planning time for fogeys to step away from work to be fully engaged with their children,” said Parker, who is also an internist at Northwestern Medicine.

What employers can do

“Employers could provide support to fathers by offering more flexibility and recognizing that each parents need more work/life balance,” Parker said. “Employers also could encourage parents who work at home, especially men, to reap the benefits of worker assistance programs in the event that they are experiencing high levels of stress. This is essential, since parents’ stress is linked to negative parental health and child developmental outcomes.”

The study is titled, “Teleworking, Parenting Stress, and the Health of Moms and Fathers.” The survey included 1,060 parents from all 77 neighborhoods in Chicago.

Other Northwestern authors include Dr. Craig Garfield, Clarissa Simon, Marie Heffernan, Dr. Matthew Davis and Dr. Kristin Kan.

This study was supported by the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Lurie Kid’s Hospital for Voices of Child Health in Chicago; the Siragusa Family Foundation; Hazel Speck Berry Trust and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.


Journal reference:

Parker, J. J., et al. (2023). Teleworking, Parenting Stress, and the Health of Moms and Fathers. JAMA Network Open.

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