The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unexpected disruptions to Western countries which affected women more adversely than men. Previous studies suggest that gender differences are attributable to: women being over-represented in the most affected sectors of the economy, women’s labour market disadvantage as compared to their partners, and mothers taking a bigger share childcare responsibilities following school closures. Using the data from four British nationally representative cohort studies, we test these propositions. Our findings confirm that the adverse labour market effects were still experienced by women a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and that these effects were the most severe for women who lived with a partner and children, even if they worked in critical occupations. We show that adjusting for pre-pandemic job characteristics attenuates the gaps, suggesting that women were over-represented in jobs disproportionately affected by COVID-19 pandemic. However, the remaining gaps are not further attenuated by adjusting for the partner’s job and children characteristics, suggesting that the adversities experienced by women were not driven by their relative labour market position, as compared to their partners or childcare responsibilities. The residual gender differences observed in the rates of active, paid work and furlough for those who live with partner and children point to the importance of unobserved factors such as social norms, preferences, or discrimination. These effects may be long-lasting and jeopardise women’s longer-term position through the loss of experience, leading to reinforcement of gender inequalities or even reversal of the progress towards gender equality.
A household’s financial satisfaction is one of the most significant factors driving subjective well-being. However, Poland ranks close to the lowest position, 22nd out of the 28 EU members, in self-reported financial status. The paper investigates the problem of determining patterns of Polish households’ behaviour and shows the evolution of the subjective assessment of financial situation based on the eight waves of the Polish Household panel data. The analysis is carried out on the basis of latent Markov (LM) models, which allow for socio-economic features affecting the parameters of the latent process. We compare different types of LM models considering: (1) different numbers of latent structures; (2) different types of the latent process constraints; (3) socio-economic background characteristics; and (4) survey weights (being excluded in most of the empirical analyses). The final model identifies three latent states, specifies common initial and transition probabilities over a 15-year period and, as a result, enables us to better characterise the families likely to change their position, especially families reporting worsening in their financial situation. To show the main direction of self-reporting financial condition, we present the predicted path for respondents characterised by the selected socio-economic features, relying on algorithm maximising posterior probabilities of the selected LM model.
Working mothers face challenges in pursuing their career aspirations due to work–family conflict. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has posed added challenges for working mothers by increasing care demands while also causing numerous health, economic and social disruptions. In this paper, we examine the impact of COVID-19 on Korean working mothers’ career aspirations. We employ a longitudinal qualitative design by analysing 64 in-depth interviews with 32 mothers of young children in South Korea. By interviewing the same women before (2019) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020), we are able to document how working mothers’ career aspirations were impacted by COVID-19. Findings show that all working mothers in the sample experienced increased care demands due to COVID-19. However, the influence of COVID-19 on working mothers’ career aspirations hinged on gendered beliefs related to childcare responsibility. When working mothers believed or were subjected to beliefs that mothers should be the primary caregiver for children (gendered care belief), their career aspirations were tempered or relinquished. On the other hand, those who believed that mothers should not be held solely responsible for childcare (gender egalitarian care belief) continued to pursue their career aspirations or experienced career advancements during COVID-19. Findings suggest that beliefs related to care responsibilities play an important role in working mothers’ pursuit of their career aspirations, and potentially their future careers.
We use individual-level population data to characterise the pathways followed by young people in England who experience custody. We identify a typology of pathways up to age 18 and a separate typology covering ages 19–22. Our results confirm the generally poor prospects among this group, showing 80% to be firmly established as not in employment, education or training (NEET) by age 22. Despite the high level of deprivation in the population considered, prospects are still found to vary with specific markers of disadvantage. Managing to avoid NEET when 16–18 is an important part of the strategy for avoiding NEET when older. This suggests the importance of policy interventions aimed at re-engagement of those who experience custody as a young person.
As a major socio-historical event affecting different aspects of life, the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to study how different population groups adapt. We investigate the impact of this crisis on the evolution of perceived stress in the short and medium term in Switzerland, using data of the Swiss Household Panel from 2016 to early 2021, which include annual measures of perceived stress and a study between waves, conducted in May and June 2020 at the end of the first semi-lockdown. Using the longitudinal structure of the data with pre-crisis measurements, we estimate pooled OLS, fixed effects and first difference models, which include socio-demographic variables, life events, socio-economic status, work-related variables, stress-reducing resources and restrictions in place.
Results for the overall population show a continuous increase in stress levels between 2016 and 2019 and a stress reduction right after the first semi-lockdown followed by a return to pre-pandemic levels. Privileged groups with higher levels of stress before the pandemic were most likely to reduce perceived stress. Characteristics related to more favourable trajectories include stable or improved financial situations and high levels of education (short-term effects), and high-pressure jobs and working hours (short- and medium-term effects). Our analyses reveal the importance of resources, such as social relations and work–life balance, to individuals’ management of the effects of the pandemic.
Our results show that the effects of the pandemic on perceived stress are context-specific. They underline the importance of longitudinal analyses to understand the complexity of vulnerability and adaptation processes.
The purpose of this study is to investigate how well-being changes over the adult life course from early adulthood in 1998 through to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. We identify diverse well-being trajectories over time in a cohort of British Columbians and explore the extent to which changes in well-being associated with the pandemic varied for individuals in these different trajectory groups. Specifically, we ask: what was the effect of the pandemic on the well-being of individuals with different prior well-being trajectories over adulthood and how were these effects related to personal, educational and employment factors? To address this question, we model well-being trajectories over a large span of adulthood from the age of 28 to 51 years old. We find a diversity of distinct patterns in well-being changes over adulthood. The majority experience high well-being over time, while almost one in five experiences either chronically low or drastically decreased well-being in mid-adulthood, which coincides with the pandemic. Notably, those who have completed post-secondary education are less likely to report low well-being trajectories. Those with the lowest well-being over time also report the largest negative effects of the pandemic, which illustrates the compounding effects of the pandemic on existing inequalities.
Research about the Flynn effect, the secular rise in IQ, is heavily based on conscript data from successive male birth cohorts. This inevitably means that two distinct phenomena are mixed: fertility differences by IQ group (‘compositional Flynn effect’), and any difference between parents and children (‘within-family Flynn effect’). Both will influence trends in cognitive ability. We focused on the latter phenomenon, exploring changes in cognitive abilities during adolescence within one generation, and between two successive generations within the same family. We identified determinants and outcomes in three linked generations in the Stockholm Multigenerational Study. School and conscript data covered logical/numerical and verbal scores for mothers at age 13, fathers at 13 and 18, and their sons at 18. Raw scores, and change in raw scores, were used as outcomes in linear regressions. Both parents’ abilities at 13 were equally important for sons’ abilities at 18. Boys from disadvantaged backgrounds caught up with other boys during adolescence. Comparing fathers with sons, there appeared to be a positive Flynn effect in logical/numeric and verbal abilities. This was larger if the father had a working-class background or many siblings. A Flynn effect was only visible in families where the father had low general cognitive ability at 18. We conclude that there is a general improvement in logical/numeric and verbal skills from one generation to the next, primarily based on improvement in disadvantaged families. The Flynn effect in Sweden during the later 20th century appears to represent a narrowing between social categories.
This article relies on a prospective qualitative study, that provides valuable insight into the mechanism through which the meaning of holidays is built over time. Following a life course perspective, the article analyses the continuities as well as the twists and turns of the meaning of Christmas in relation to significant turning points that occur along the paths of individual lives in transition to adulthood. Grounded on an inductive approach, the study draws on longitudinal qualitative data collected through solicited diaries, kept by 14 young Romanian adults, around Christmas time, along four panel waves (2004, 2010, 2016, 2020). Results show that there is no universal configuration of the meaning of Christmas, but rather a diversity of personalised dynamic configurations, in line with individuals’ subjective realities, which are sensitive to family traditions passed down during socialisation, and constantly updated with each generation that assumes them, but also to significant life events that occurred on their early adult life course trajectories, determining a re-evaluation of attitudes about self, life, religion and others. The article concludes that Christmas, as a social construct, is a malleable bearer of values, which acts both as a ‘sword’ and as a ‘shield’ that diarists use according to the needs, wishes and challenges that arise in their transition from adolescence to enhanced adulthood.
This article draws on the Growing Up in Ireland study and the Scottish sample of the Millennium Cohort Study to explore the factors influencing inequalities in children’s cognitive skills on entry to primary education. It adopts a multidimensional comparative approach, which directly compares the effects of parental education and household income on several cognitive outcomes (vocabulary, language, reading and numbers) among five-year-old children and examines the extent to which inequalities in these outcomes are mediated by the home learning environment (HLE) and early childhood education (ECE). Home learning environment plays a stronger role in explaining actual vocabulary differences in Ireland while it plays a stronger role in school readiness (teacher-assessed skills) in Scotland. In both countries, use of centre-based care at 9 months and 3 years was markedly higher among the top income quintile. Centre-based care is found to play a mediating role in school readiness in Scotland. Nonetheless, the findings point to important direct effects of family background even when HLE and childcare are taken into account. The analyses point to differences in the trajectory of early skill development in the two countries, with the impact of early skill development being more marked in Scotland than Ireland. Comparative analyses of this kind thus yield important insights for policy development by highlighting potential domains (such as childcare) or timing (preschool or within-school) for intervention.
Considerable evidence demonstrates that perceiving oneself as an object of discrimination has negative consequences for mental health. However, little is known about whether this experience is more or less harmful in distinct phases of the life course, consistent with the life course principle of timing; or whether, in accord with the principle of lifespan development, it has long-term implications. We draw on longitudinal data addressing perceived workplace discrimination based on race/ethnicity and gender from the prospective Youth Development Study, covering early adulthood to midlife. Hierarchical linear modelling of the effects of discrimination on depressed mood indicates that both forms of discrimination have short-term (within life stages) and long-term (across stages) adverse effects on adult mental health. The impacts of perceived discrimination within stages on depressed mood appear to be greatest in the mid-30s and to weaken by midlife. Lingering effects of discrimination are more pronounced early on. These patterns are observed with controls for key time-varying negative experiences at work and personal socio-economic status, as well as invariant background characteristics (gender, race and parental socio-economic status). We consider these findings in relation to the dynamics of personal change in the context of occupational careers.