USU Study: COVID-19 Stress Hits Women Harder

Apr 6, 2021, 7:36 PM | Updated: 8:20 pm

LOGAN, Utah – As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, a new study out of Utah State University showed women have taken on more of the stress than men, and some of that stress included concerns about domestic violence.

The research showed that fixing those issues would take more than a few policy changes.

Keira Farrimond, a producer at KSL-TV, transitioned to doing the bulk of her work from home when the pandemic hit.

She said the kids have been be all over the place at times, even jumping in during morning news meetings.

Luckily, Farrimond’s husband moved to a home office too.

“It’s definitely different,” Farrimond said. “Between the two of us, the kids are bouncing from one office to the other, asking for different things all day long.”

KSL TV producer Keira Farrimond now works from home and balances her job and kids with her husband. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) USU Researcher Dr. Susan Madsen (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

That USU study found that in most Utah homes, women were taking on the brunt of those pandemic changes.

“They were feeling exhausted and burned out,” said Dr. Susan Madsen, co-author of the study done through the Utah Women and Leadership Project. “I think a lot of people are ready to move on. I think you can feel exhaustion just being trapped in your house and really doing kind of some of the same things that you do over and over and not really get the breaks to see people and have those relationships.”

Close to 16% of the more than 3,500 people surveyed left the workplace completely, mostly due to staffing cuts or choosing to take care of the family.

The survey also revealed a disturbing finding in just over 9% of those in the study.

“(They) really expressed concerns about domestic violence currently in their home, or worried about domestic violence,” said Madsen. “To me, that’s a staggering percentage.”

Madsen said it was not a new problem for Utah. While the state has some community resources to help, she said far too much funding has been cut from those programs by state leaders.

“We haven’t taken it seriously,” she said. “I have been working on all these things for a long time and I’ll just tell you, I’m sick of that one, I’m sick of domestic violence.”

Overall, she said employers need to allow more flexibility for juggling family and work – for example, allowing employees to set their hours around those responsibilities.

The tough part, Madsen added, was this also takes an overall cultural shift, where people wouldn’t be looked down on for making those adjustments.

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USU Study: COVID-19 Stress Hits Women Harder