Health and psychological distress implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for single mothers in Israel

Varda Soskolne, Anat Herbst-Debby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic may have severe economic, family and health consequences for socially vulnerable populations, such as single mothers. We assessed COVID-19 stressors (employment and economic changes and child-related worries) among a convenience sample of single mothers (n = 325), and examined their association with the mothers’ self-rated health (SRH) and psychological distress (symptoms of depression and anxiety). A high proportion of the mothers experienced substantive impact on their employment, income and child-related worries since the COVID-19 outbreak; close to 25% reported low levels of SRH; and the mean scores for symptoms of depression and anxiety were high, around the cutoff point for probable symptomatology. Multivariate analyses using hierarchical linear regression models revealed that changes since the pandemic outbreak–worries about employment, reduction in income and children–contributed significantly to SRH and to symptoms of depression and anxiety: the greater the worries, the poorer the SRH and the higher the levels of psychological distress. Single mothers require assistance to safeguard their employment and prevent reduction in income, as well as practical help with childcare, to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on health and on symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1628-1644
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Family Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

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© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • COVID-19
  • Israel
  • Single mothers
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • economic impact
  • self-rated health


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