Little is known about the relationship between homeworking and mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic and how it might differ by keyworker status. To understand this relationship, we use longitudinal data collected over three time points during the pandemic from three British cohort studies born in 1958 (National Child Development Study), 1970 (British Cohort Study) and 1989–90 (Next Step) as well as from a population-based study stratified by four age groups (Understanding Society). We estimate the association between life satisfaction, anxiety, depression, and psychological distress and homeworking by key worker status using mixed effects models with maximum likelihood estimation to account for repeated measurements across the pandemic, allowing intercepts to vary across individuals after controlling for a set of covariates including pre-pandemic home working propensities and loneliness. Results show that key workers working from home showed the greatest decline in mental health outcomes relative to other groups. Pre-pandemic homeworking did not significantly change the nature of such a relationship and loneliness slightly attenuated some of the effects. Finally, mental health outcomes varied across age-groups and time points. The discussion emphasises the need to pay attention to key workers when assessing the relationship between mental health and homeworking.


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Wielgoszewksa, B., Booth, C., Green, M., Hamilton, O. & Wels, J. 2022, 'Association between home working and mental health by key worker status during the Covid-19 pandemic. Evidence from four British longitudinal studies', Industrial Health, article no: 2022-0081. http://dx.doi.org/10.2486/indhealth.2022-0081

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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