The Covid-19 Pandemic and Maternal Mental Health: A Longitudinal Study of Chilean and Foreign-Born Mothers

Int J Public Health. 2022 Jul 13:67:1604724. doi: 10.3389/ijph.2022.1604724. eCollection 2022.


Objectives: We explore the effects of the pandemic on stress, depressive symptoms and parenting practices of mothers with children aged between 24- and 30-months, residents in Santiago, Chile, and the differences between foreign-born and native-born mothers. Methods: Using data from the longitudinal project Mil Primeros Días and lagged-dependent models, we analyzed parental stress, depressive symptoms and parenting practices for native-born and foreign-born mothers. Lagged-dependent model allows us to take advantage of the longitudinal data by controlling for the previous score and baseline individual characteristics. Results: After 8 months of the pandemic, mothers of young children have more depressive symptoms, are more stressed, and show more hostility towards their children. Foreign-born mothers had 0.29 and 0.22 standard deviations (SD) more than native-born mothers in the parental distress and difficult child scales from the Parental Stress Index (PSI), respectively, and 0.17 SD more in the hostile-reactive parental behavior dimension. Conclusion: Findings suggest the need to implement policies and programs that prevent mental health deterioration for mothers, especially migrant mothers, to improve women's psychological condition and child wellness.

Keywords: COVID-19; Chile; longitudinal study; maternal mental health; parental stress.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chile / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mental Health
  • Mothers* / psychology
  • Pandemics
  • Parenting / psychology