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Mental Health Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Probability Sample Survey of the UK Population
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293948


There is growing global concern about the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on population mental health. We examine changes in adult mental health in the UK population before and during the lockdown. <br><br>


Secondary analysis of the UK Household Longitudinal Study Waves 6 (2014/15) to 9 (2018/19), matched to the Covid-19 web-survey completed by 17,452 panel members 23-29 April 2020. Mental health was assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). Repeated cross-sectional analyses were conducted to examine annual temporal trends. Fixed effects regression models were fitted to identify within-person change compared to preceding trends. <br><br>


Mean population GHQ-12 score increased from 11·5 (95% confidence interval 11·3–11·6) in 2018/19 to 12·6 (12·5–12·8) in April 2020, one month into lockdown. This was 0·48 (0·07-0·90) points higher than expected when accounting for prior upward trends between 2013 and 2019. Comparing scores within-individuals, adjusting for time-trends and predictors, increases were greatest in 18-24-year-olds (2·7, 1·89-3·48), 25-34-year-olds (1·6, 0·96-2·18), women (0·9, 0·50-1·35), and people living with young children (1·45, 0·79-2·12). People employed before the pandemic averaged a notable increase (0·6;0·20-1·06). <br><br>


In late April 2020, mental health in the UK deteriorated compared to trends pre-Covid, particularly in young people, women and those living with young children. Those in employment before the pandemic also experienced greater deterioration one month into lockdown, perhaps due to actual or anticipated redundancy. While deterioration occurred across income groups, we anticipate inequalities may widen over time, as in other causes of recessions.<br><br>Funding Statement This study was unfunded.<br><br>Declaration of Interests The authors declare no competing interests. <br><br>Ethics Approval Statement The data used are publicly available via UK Data Service repository (study numbers 6614 and 8644), and do not require ethical assessment for academic research purposes.

Full text: Available Collection: Preprints Database: EuropePMC Language: English Year: 2020 Document Type: Preprint

Full text: Available Collection: Preprints Database: EuropePMC Language: English Year: 2020 Document Type: Preprint