The Covid-19 pandemic and maternal mental health: A longitudinal study of Chilean and foreign-born mothers


International Journal of Public Health
Otros Autores: Marigen Narea

Objectives: We explore the effects of the pandemic on stress, depressive symptoms and parenting practices of mothers with children aged between 24- and 30-months, residents in Santiago, Chile, and the differences between foreign?born and native?born mothers.

Methods: Using data from the longitudinal project Mil Primeros Días and lagged-dependent models, we analyzed parental stress, depressive symptoms and parenting practices for native-born and foreign-born mothers. Lagged-dependent model allows us to take advantage of the longitudinal data by controlling for the previous score and baseline individual characteristics.

Results: After 8 months of the pandemic, mothers of young children have more depressive symptoms, are more stressed, and show more hostility towards their children. Foreign-born mothers had 0.29 and 0.22 standard deviations (SD) more than native-born mothers in the parental distress and difficult child scales from the Parental Stress Index (PSI), respectively, and 0.17 SD more in the hostile-reactive parental behavior dimension.

Conclusion: Findings suggest the need to implement policies and programs that prevent mental health deterioration for mothers, especially migrant mothers, to improve women’s psychological condition and child wellness.