It’s well-known that women have been especially impacted by pandemic-related economic upheaval. But new data show how widespread the job loss and emotional strain have been for mothers of young children in particular. One-third of moms with children birth through age 5 have had to stop working or reduce their hours during the pandemic, according to a new report based on surveys of 1,000 caregivers and released by the Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development- Early Childhood, or RAPID-EC, a national bi-weekly survey of households with children ages five and under. (That’s actually slightly lower than the percentage of mothers with school-age children who were not working as of January 2021, according to the United States Census Bureau.)

Yet these employment changes have hit moms of young children hard, the RAPID-EC survey data found. The mothers who lost employment experienced higher levels of emotional distress—including anxiety, depression, stress and loneliness—than moms who did not stop or reduce their working hours.

One reason for the increase in emotional distress, researchers found, could be that 82 percent of women who stopped working said they could not afford to be out of work; meanwhile, 68 percent of women with reduced hours said they could not afford that shift. Black and Latinx women were more likely than white women to struggle financially after losing work. But even women who could afford the loss of income reported higher levels of emotional distress than those whose work remained constant.

Read the full article about the stress facing moms by Jackie Mader at The Hechinger Report.