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Background and objective: Globally, men are at greater risk of mortality and serious physical consequences from COVID-19 infection than women, but are less impacted by the pandemic’s impact on labor force participation and increased childcare responsibilities. Outside of gender identity, however, it is unclear whether men’s beliefs about gender may be related to the kinds of COVID-19-related impacts they report. This study sought to describe the employment, income, and household responsibility-related impacts of the pandemic on a sample of young men in the U.S. and to examine relationships between the men’s gender ideologies and
attitudes toward gender equity with self-reported stress impacts of the pandemic.
Methods: The data are from an online survey of 481 young men from across the U.S. Measures included scales assessing masculinity ideology, modern sexism, support for traditional divisions of labor by gender, and attitudes toward gender equity. New items developed for this study assessed COVID-19-related changes in employment, household responsibilities, and childcare duties as well as levels of stress. Hierarchical regression examined the relative roles of demographic characteristics, changes in employment and household work, and gender-related attitudes on COVID-related stress.
Results: Descriptive findings showed that under 50% of the men in the sample experienced negative COVID-related impacts on employment, but that a majority of the men reported at least some COVID-related stress. Results of the hierarchical regression suggest that higher levels of stress were predicted by having a minori-tized sexual identity, less religiosity, experiencing employment or household responsibility-related changes, and not endorsing modern sexism or a traditional, gendered division of labor.
Conclusions: Experiencing COVID-19-related stress was normative in this sample of young men. However, endorsing traditional notions of a gendered division of labor was slightly protective against higher levels of COVID-related stress. These findings add to existing evidence that gender analysis must be a central compo-nent of ongoing COVID-related policy and programming development.
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