As societies have restrictive health policies and social distancing procedures to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, these measures have severely affected subjective mental health. In this study, using 3 waves from the U.K. Household Longitudinal Survey, we focus on changes in well-being in the United Kingdom by examining 2 points during the pandemic—short-term effects (April 2020; N = 7251) and long-term effects (July 2020; N = 7199). The short-term analysis reveals that 3 groups of people experienced greater levels of deterioration in mental well-being: (a) age group (20–39), (b) females, and (c) those who are facing financial pressures. The long-term analysis, on the other hand, shows some quite different patterns: (a) the age group effect almost disappears, (b) the gender effect disappears, (c) the effect of financial pressures become much stronger particularly for those who are doing the worst, and (d) participating in social networks (living with a partner, having close friends, and having older children) mitigate the detrimental effects of the pandemic. We further show that men benefit from living with a partner significantly more than women in the long-term model. Overall, our findings call for a more nuanced analysis of the pandemic's well-being effects, highlighting the importance of distinguishing between the short-term and long-term mechanisms.


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Andrada, A. & Ozdemir, U. 2021, 'COVID 19 and subjective mental well-being: Changes throughout the crisis', Traumatology, 27(4), pp. 444-454. https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000358

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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