Being an Academic Mother during a Pandemic: The Roles of Home and Work on Mental Health


  • Lauren McClain
  • Natasha Gerstenschlager


The COVID-19 pandemic affected life for everyone. However, as mothers tend to be the primary caregivers and default parents, early research has shown that mothers were responsible for a disproportionate share of work related to children during the pandemic. Given the oppositional identities of professional academic work and mothering, this increase in parenting for mothers naturally affected their work as academics and likely negatively affected their mental health. Faculty mothers of colour had the added burden of operating in a racist institution as well as contending with racial unrest, an antagonistic president at the time, and higher rates of mortality among Black and brown people from COVID-19. In this project, we use an intersectional approach to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 on academic mothers through the lens of race and age of youngest child, focusing on heightened anxiety and poorer mental health. We utilized a survey administered to collegiate faculty in the United States. We share results from our mixed-methods study, highlighting both quantitative and qualitative results to better tell the story of academic mothers during the pandemic and how these roles during this time affected their career and mental health. 




How to Cite

McClain, L., & Gerstenschlager, N. (2022). Being an Academic Mother during a Pandemic: The Roles of Home and Work on Mental Health. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, 13(2), 26. Retrieved from