New study assesses the impact of socioeconomic stressors on health outcomes among caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Oct 28, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic caused sudden economic, childcare, and housing disruptions to families with low incomes and young children, resulting in poor health outcomes such as food insecurity and depressive symptoms. These findings are shared in a new study that interviewed 464 racially diverse female caregivers with low income in California. Data collected as part of the Assessing California Communities' Experiences with Safety Net Supports Survey (ACCESS) from August 2020 to May 2021 showed that most caregivers reported disruptions to childcare and employment, and fewer reported housing disruptions. The women experiencing childcare and housing disruptions had significantly higher depressive symptoms, lower self-rated health and greater food insecurity than those not experiencing the disruptions. Experiencing employment disruptions was not associated with the health outcomes assessed. The research highlights structural deficits of policies and other supports for those facing childcare and housing disruptions during the pandemic, and suggests avenues to enhance the health of families with young children. The study published in the BMC Public Health Journal was conducted by Erika M. Brown, Rita Hamad, and Kaitlyn E. Jackson from the University of California San Francisco, Lia C.H. Fernald and Mekhala Hoskote with the University of California Berkeley, and Wendi Gosliner with the Nutrition Policy Institute. This project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Tipping Point, University of California (R00RG2805), University of California Office of the President, and Berkeley Population Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

By Katherine Lanca
Author - Graduate Student
By Danielle L. Lee
Editor - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Wendi Gosliner
Editor - Project scientist
By Rita Hamad
By Erika Brown
By Lia Fernald