Gender Inequality and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Florencia Borrescio-Higa, Patricio Valenzuela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: We explore gender differences in mental health deterioration and psychological well-being due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the mechanisms through which these differences may operate. Methods: Using data from the Life during Pandemic survey in Chile, which covers 2,545 adult respondents, we estimate econometric models to explore gender differences in psychological well-being and mental health as well as economic fragility and household workload during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: We find women are more likely to report overall bad mental health and deterioration of well-being. They are also more likely to have a new diagnosis of a mental health problem, to be pursuing treatment and taking prescription medication. Moreover, women report an increase in household chores and in childcare, and are more likely to have lost their employment or experienced a loss of income due to the pandemic. Conclusion: Our results offer a general picture of gender differences in the psychological impact of COVID-19. We argue that policies that mitigate economic stress and address the needs of women specifically may ease mental health deterioration due to the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1604220
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • gender
  • inequality
  • mental health
  • well-being


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