Ia ShekriladzeIlia State University, Georgia
Title: Response to COVID-19 Pandemic: Does Gender Matter?
The COVID-19 pandemic, a continuous Global stressor, has affected public mental wellbeing worldwide. Our study examined population response to the pandemic during two lockdowns in Georgia, at acute (May, 2020) and prolonged (Dec, 2020) phases of the global stress, and explored gender-specific differences in psychological indicators and coping. The study had a repeated cross-sectional design. In total, 1466 individuals (750 – wave 1 and 716 – wave 2) participated. Demographic variables were controlled to reach the equivalence of the samples. Anxiety, COVID-19 worry, and life satisfaction were measured along with the meaning of life and individualism/collectivism. Participants’ ways of coping (Rational and emotional) were also examined. As pandemic prolonged, both men and women showed considerable increase in COVID-19 worry and anxiety, and lowered the usage of the action-planning coping style (rational coping). In addition, men showed decline in passive-submissive (emotional) coping, while women exhibited rise in information-accessing/ processing coping (rational) style. Moreover, presence of meaning in life and life satisfaction considerably dropped among men and did not change among women. Individualism, on the other hand, markedly diminished among women. Gender-based roles and responsibilities of taking care of others may explain these variations in response to a global stressor. The findings confirmed the importance of timing for all in coping with the pandemic, and suggested that gender-related differences, including the roles of men and women in handling the crisis, may shape coping at different stages of collective stress.
Ia Shekriladze has PhD in Psychology and is an associate professor and senior researcher at D. Uznadze Institute of Psychology, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia. She also earned a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and a clinical license (LCSW) from the Board of Behavioral Sciences of the State of California, USA. For over twenty years, she has worked in the fields of Mental Health and Child Welfare as a clinician, researcher, consultant and manager. She is the author and co-author of multiple textbooks and scientific articles.