Coronavirus pandemic: Isolation during lockdown impacted women more than men, finds study

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December 28, 2020 11:42 AM

Published in the journal Frontiers in Global Women’s Health and accessed by Financial Express Online, the study examined the data provided by 573 participants.

coronavirus isolation impact on women and menSenior investigator of the research Dr Giuseppe Iaria said that he was not surprised with the study’s findings. (Representative image: Reuters)

Coronavirus impact on women: Women suffered more during the coronavirus pandemic-induced isolation than men, a study has found. The University of Calgary, Canada, along with the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, studied the impact of isolation during the pandemic on sleep quality, empathy as well as the mood of the participants. Published in the journal Frontiers in Global Women’s Health and accessed by Financial Express Online, the study examined the data provided by 573 participants, who took an online survey. Survey data was collected from the Canada-based participants between March 23 and June 7, 2020, when most businesses and all schools were closed and people had been asked to stay indoors for as long as possible to avoid spreading of the virus.

Also read | Covid-19 impact on mental health: Patients face insomnia, dementia, anxiety disorders, shows Lancet study

The research, led by Dr Veronica Guadagni, showed that a poor quality of sleep was reported among 66% of the participants, while increased insomnia symptoms had been reported by over 39% volunteers. The entire sample was found to have heightened anxiety as well as distress. However, symptoms of depression, anxiety and poor quality of sleep were prevalent more among women.

A statement by the University of Calgary quoted Dr Guadagni as saying that depression and anxiety was reported more by women, as per the survey. She also said that the symptoms among women worsened as time went on and as the isolation period increased. While poor sleep quality, depression, trauma and anxiety progressively increased for both males and females, over time, this increase was more for females, Dr Guadagni said.

Moreover, the study found women to be more empathetic, reporting a better understanding of emotions that others expressed as well as being more caring towards others. The researchers associated this increased empathy with heightened depression, trauma as well as anxiety, and it has also been speculated in relation to women being caregivers, which they said reflected the differences in gender norms as well as roles.

Senior investigator of the research Dr Giuseppe Iaria said that he was not surprised with the study’s findings as women usually carry the additional load, as the huge load of taking care of family in such critical situations usually falls on females and women.

This higher empathetic stand of women also translated into the fact that females would be more likely to follow the guidelines set by the authorities, as compared to males. This, the authors said, could form the basis for a follow-up study.

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