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School closures and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan

Eiji Yamamura and Yoshiro Tsustsui ()
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Yoshiro Tsustsui: Kyoto Bunkyo University

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Yoshiro Tsutsui ()

Journal of Population Economics, 2021, vol. 34, issue 4, No 5, 1298 pages

Abstract: Abstract The spread of the novel coronavirus disease caused schools in Japan to close to cope with the pandemic. In response to the school closures, parents of students were obliged to care for their children during the daytime, when children usually were at school. Did the increase in the burden of childcare influence parents’ mental health? Based on short panel data from mid-March to mid-April 2020, we explore how school closures influenced the mental health of parents with school-aged children. Using a fixed-effects model, we find that school closures led to mothers of students suffering from worse mental health compared to other females, while the fathers’ mental health did not differ from that of other males. This tendency is only observed for less-educated mothers who had children attending primary school, not for those with children attending junior high school nor for more-educated mothers. The contribution of this paper is showing that school closures increased the inequality of mental health between genders and parents with different educational backgrounds.

Keywords: COVID-19; Mental health; Children; School closure; Primary school; Gender difference (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s00148-021-00844-3

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:34:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-021-00844-3