The Far-Reaching Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women

A new study led by researchers at the Duke Medical School found that during the pandemic, women aged 20-40 years old in the southern United States experienced an increase in mental health challenges, tighter budgets, and exercised less.

The results showed that when compared to pre-pandemic numbers, 69.1 percent of women experienced an increase in frustration or boredom, 51.6 percent experienced an increase in loneliness, 64.3 percent experienced an increase in anxiety, 52.4 percent experienced an increase in depression, and 68.3 percent experienced a change in sleep patterns. More than 18.2 percent of participants experienced an increase in the use of alcohol or other substances. More than a third of women reported a reduction in exercise. Some 22.8 percent of women said they found it somewhat hard to pay for necessities, 10.2 percent found it hard, and 11 percent found it very hard.

“I think people have said, ‘sure things are worse.’ But they might not have appreciated the extent to which that’s true,” said Michael Zimmerman, a Duke fourth-year medical student and lead author of the study. “In almost any other context, we’d hear about a 50 percent increase in people who report depression, that’d be a public health crisis. But it’s one that went under the headlines because of focus on the virus itself.”

The full study, “COVID-19 in the Community: Changes to Women’s Mental Health, Financial Security, and Physical Activity,” was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/StudyWomen's Studies


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