American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

Maternal Guilt and Shame and Educational Placement of Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Bethany Fleck Dillen, Heather D. Hussey, Rachel Nussbaum, Michelle Kravets

Objective: The objective of this study was to understand the well-being of mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but more specifically, to understand if maternal guilt and shame was impacted by their child’s educational placement (i.e., how their child went to school). Background: Guilt and shame are feelings often elicited during motherhood; however, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about additional stressors and challenges that impacted mothers. Past research has not measured guilt and shame during the pandemic alongside other measures of well-being. Method: Data were collected in November and December of 2020 via a self-report online survey. Results: Moderate levels of maternal guilt and shame were reported and did not differ based on educational placement. Guilt and shame were related to other measures of well-being including COVID-19 anxiety, depression, parental stress, and internal health locus of control. Guilt was predicted by three factors: shame, COVID-19 anxiety, and mothers’ education; whereas, shame was predicted by two factors: guilt and parenting self-efficacy. Implications: System level changes and suggestions for individual practitioners include reforming education and labor laws, paternal support, and self-care. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic was a hard time for mothers as evidenced by their feelings of maternal guilt and shame alongside other measures of their general well-being. Additional attention, research, and support for maternal mental health is warranted.

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