Oswego Faculty Earns Top Award at Conference

Mamta Saxena

Mamta Saxena, an associate professor of human development at SUNY Oswego, earned the best overall presenter award for her virtual presentation of “Juggling Chaos: Gender Issues in Navigating Demands, Family Routines and Stress During the Pandemic” at the Ninth World Conference on Women’s Studies.

The conference took place both in person and virtually in Thailand on May 11 and 12.

Saxena’s research explored gender differences in regards to economic demands, family routines, coping and stress throughout 2020 and 2021, using a web-based survey of 814 individuals.

“According to social science researchers, COVID-19 and its variants created a global collective crisis that affected everyone regardless of their diverse backgrounds,” Saxena explained. “We do not often experience such unprecedented shifts that impact and question the sustenance of micro to macro systems worldwide. Thus, the pandemic provided a distinct opportunity to get insights into the experiences of family members and traditional structural inequities entrenched in family life.”

The project began as a collaboration between Saxena and two colleagues on the human development faculty, Dorothy Shedlock and Randall Stetson. Saxena collected data with the help of students in her research methods course, which led to a 2020 publication in Frontiers in Communication titled “Gender and disruptions in family routines and stress amid COVID-19,” co-authored by Saxena, Shedlock and another human development colleague, Zachary Gold.

Saxena’s award-winning presentation featured “a comparative analysis of trends and patterns in 2020 and 2021, aiming to determine the most significant predictor of stress,” she said. “The findings suggested that families have not rebounded despite being vaccinated and relaxed restrictions. Disturbingly, individuals continued to report high levels of clinical stress in 2020, which escalated in 2021.”