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

Author

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  • Eiji Yamamura

    (Seinan Gakuin University)

  • Yoshiro Tsustsui

    (Kyoto Bunkyo University)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsustsui, 2021. "School closures and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(4), pages 1261-1298, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:34:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-021-00844-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-021-00844-3
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    2. Sarah Moreland-Russell & Jason Jabbari & Dan Ferris & Stephen Roll, 2022. "At Home and on the Brink: U.S. Parents’ Mental Health during COVID-19," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(9), pages 1-13, May.
    3. Keitaro Murayama & Hideharu Tatebayashi & Takako Kawaguchi & Kousuke Fujita & Kenta Sashikata & Tomohiro Nakao, 2022. "The Impact of Gender and Age Differences and Infectious Disease Symptoms on Psychological Distress in Quarantined Asymptomatic or Mildly Ill COVID-19 Patients in Japan," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(15), pages 1-10, July.
    4. Masahiro Shoji & Susumu Cato & Takashi Iida & Kenji Ishida & Asei Ito & Kenneth Mori McElwain, 2022. "Variations in Early-Stage Responses to Pandemics: Survey Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 235-258, July.
    5. Shoji, Masahiro & Cato, Susumu & Ito, Asei & Iida, Takashi & Ishida, Kenji & Katsumata, Hiroto & McElwain, Kenneth Mori, 2022. "Mobile health technology as a solution to self-control problems: The behavioral impact of COVID-19 contact tracing apps in Japan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 306(C).
    6. Natalie Nitsche & Ansgar Hudde, 2022. "Countries embracing maternal employment opened schools sooner after Covid-19 lockdowns," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2022-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. Yamamura, Eiji & Tsutsui, Yoshiro, 2022. "How does the impact of the COVID-19 state of emergency change? An analysis of preventive behaviors and mental health using panel data in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    8. Mizuki Komura & Hikaru Ogawa, 2022. "COVID-19, marriage, and divorce in Japan," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 831-853, September.
    9. Anna Godøy & Maja Weemes Grøtting & Rannveig Kaldager Hart, 2022. "Reopening schools in a context of low COVID-19 contagion: consequences for teachers, students and their parents," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 35(3), pages 935-961, July.
    10. ASAKAWA Shinsuke & OHTAKE Fumio, 2022. "Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on the Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills of Elementary School Students," Discussion papers 22075, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    11. Annie Tubadji, 2021. "Culture and mental health resilience in times of COVID-19," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(4), pages 1219-1259, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19; Mental health; Children; School closure; Primary school; Gender difference;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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