Women during the Covid-19 lockdown: more anxiety symptoms in women with children than without children and role of the resilience

Erika Benassi, Marianna Vallone, Michela Camia, Maristella Scorza


Backgrounds. In addition to being a public physical health emergency, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been identified as a psychological health emergency of global concern. The emergency measures implemented by the Italian Government from March to June 2020 included drastic limitations to living conditions that may have impacted on women with children in particular. Nevertheless, few studies focused on them investigating psychopathological consequences of lockdown and protective factors for mental health.

Aims. First aim was to examine differences on generalized anxiety symptoms between working women with children and without children; second, we investigated whether psychological resilience contributed to low emotional impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Method. An online survey was administered to 516 working mothers and 514 working women without children. Participants responded to Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD7) and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC 25).

Results. Significant differences emerged between the two groups, with higher symptoms and percentages of generalized anxiety disorders (GADs) in the group of mothers relative to women without children. Regression analysis showed that CD-RISC 25 score, more than having/not having children, had a predictive effect on GAD7 score, concurring to reduce anxiety symptoms.

Conclusions. Our findings suggest that dealing with lockdown was a particularly stressful experience for working mothers who had to balance personal life, work, and raising children without other resources. Resilience may be a protection against emotional problems and supportive interventions should be implemented in the present and in the future to promote mental health in this population.


COVID-19; Women; Mothers; Anxiety; Resilience.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.6092/2282-1619/mjcp-2559


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