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The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected research productivity in academia. Yet, as more and more studies have been conducted, it has been clear that it has not affected everyone equally. In particular, COVID -19 has exacerbated existing inequalities in academia. For example, there has always been a gender inequality in academia with women publishing, getting paid, and promoted less than men. In addition, women often shoulder most caretaking responsibilities in the household, which puts more strain on them in their jobs. During the quarantine period of the pandemic, nearly all childcare services were unavailable, causing academic parents to juggle full-time caretaking in addition to their full-time job. Numerous studies have shown that COVID-19 and quarantine left women and caretakers in academia with more responsibilities and less relief, affecting not only their research productivity and university jobs, but also their mental health. In a research study about academic caretakers at the University of Dayton in which 19 faculty from various departments were interviewed, almost all respondents mentioned the negative effects COVID-19 had on their mental health. Common themes included feeling stretched thin between work, childcare, and other duties and feeling burnout and unmotivated. Many respondents cited the stress of being a full-time caretaker and employee, the lack of in-person support, and anxiety about the future as central causes of their mental health decline. However, despite mental health struggles being an issue for all respondents, many said that being in various communities that supported each other were a huge help to them during this time.
Course Project 202280 WGS 390 P3
Erin Kunz, Corinne Brion
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences
"COVID-19, Academic Caretakers, and Mental Health" (2023). Stander Symposium Projects. 3208.