Image of Prof. Ananat, in black shirt with blue cardigan. City in background.

On January 18, 2022, Elizabeth Ananat, Mallya Professor of Women and Economics, published a new article on the National Bureau of Economic Research’s website, alongside three co-authors from Duke University. The paper, titled “Effects of Daily School and Care Disruptions During the COVID-19 Pandemic on Child Mental Health,” examines the frequency and consequences of disruptions to child care and school routines that occurred in the fall of 2020. 

The study sampled service-sector working parents of young children in a major U.S. city. Participants were asked to complete 30 days of surveys regarding the consistency of child care and schooling, their own mood, their own behavior, and their children’s behavior. The results showed that daily disruptions to child care and school were common and that families with children attending school or child care remotely experienced more disruptions than families with children who received in-person schooling and child care. The authors also found that child care and school disruptions strongly predicted worse behavioral outcomes in children, a more negative parental mood, and thus, an increased likelihood of short tempers and punishment.