Early, mid-career women experienced higher stress during COVID-19: Study


Chicago: A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois, Chicago has found that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected early and mid-career female academic faculty members.

This research is published in the ‘Journal of Women’s Health’. The study aims to identify personal and professional characteristics to understand the impact of the pandemic on faculty and the resulting policy implications.

Dr Pavitra Kotini-Shah, assistant professor at UIC College of Medicine, said, “The goal of the research was to explore patterns – personal and work characteristics that highlight how the pandemic has affected faculty at different life stages and professional ranks.” How it influenced scholarly activity.” and research co-authors.

“We hoped this would provide some insight for administrators as they try to revise policies after the pandemic,” she said.

The researchers invited UIC faculty members to participate in the survey, and the results of 497 respondents were calculated for qualitative analysis. Respondents answered 93 questions about work and home stress, as well as demographic information.

For the work-stress category, respondents were asked to rate their stress levels for tasks including attending meetings and tasks, grant management, teaching responsibilities, mentoring, and committee and clinical responsibilities .

For the home-stress category, question topics included household responsibilities, personal care, and financial obligations. Demographic questions included age, partner status, children and their age, professional rank and tenure status, degree and their college placement.

The surveys fell into four different analysis classes:

Class 1: High work and home stress — most likely to be women who were assistant professors without tenure and in their early careers; Mothers of young children. This group accounted for 35 percent of the respondents.

Class 2: High work and home stress — most likely to be women who were associate professors with tenure; Mothers of children under 12 years of age. This group accounted for 22 percent of the respondents.

Class 3: Moderate work stress and low household stress – most likely to be men who were professors with tenure; Less likely to have small children. This group accounted for 24 percent of the respondents.

Class 4: Less work and home stress – men without tenure, visiting or assistant trainers; Less likely to have small children. This group accounted for 19 percent of the respondents.

The first two categories of faculty that had the most home and work stress also had the most significant changes in work-life balance due to COVID-19.

“The pandemic did not affect faculty equally. Early- and mid-career individuals were negatively affected by increased workload, stress, and decreased self-care,” the study said.

“Stress for most faculty comes from conflicting commitments and expectations. This is post-work stress—the shifting between the competing priorities of teaching, service, research, and clinical work,” said UIC associate professor of clinical medicine in the College Dr. Bernice Mann said. One of the leaders of further study of Medicine.

“Respondents in the most stressed groups indicated that cutting back to manage stress hurt their scholarly output the most. This suggests that the researchers had hypothesized to go into research. Additionally, Other research was pointing to a wide gender gap within months of the start of the pandemic, with a drop in women submitting research papers to scholarly journals,” Kotini-Shah said.

The project came about through work the team was doing as part of Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health, an institutional K-award awarded by the National Institutes of Health to research gender and gender in clinical and other research areas. funded for.

“When the pandemic struck, we continued to meet and talk about our personal struggles on the home front and at work, making adjustments to schedules and clinical care. Feats at home and work contributed to stress But in the end, it was research and writing productivity, which had the least immediate external accountability, that suffered the most,” Kotini-Shah said.

He added, “Complex with uncertainty and unprecedented personal risk … were the factors that led to the creation of this survey to reflect what others experienced as well.”

In their conclusion, the researchers called on academic leaders to consider the paper’s findings and “acknowledge the changing impact of the pandemic on faculty, to take these differences into account and to include faculty with different experiences when adjusting workplace and promotion policies.” call upon.”

Additional research authors were Ruth Poby, Laura Hirschfield, Barbara Rissman, Dr. Irina Buhimschi and Dr. Heather Weinrich.

This work was supported by a UIC’s Building Interdisciplinary Research Career in Women’s Health grant (K12HD101373) from the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Research on Women’s Health.

The REDCap database used in this project was made possible through the UIC Clinical and Translational Sciences funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1TR002003). (ANI)

First published:December 11, 2021, 7 am


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