Several countries, including India, imposed mandatory social distancing, quarantine, and lockdowns to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Although these measures were effective in curbing the spread of the virus, prolonged social distancing, quarantine, and the resultant economic disruption led to an increase in financial stress and mental health concerns. Prior studies established a link between the first lockdown and an increase in mental health issues. However, few studies investigated the association between post-lockdown financial hardship, job loss, and mental health. In this study, we examined the association between COVID-19-related financial hardship, job loss, and mental health symptoms approximately nine months after the end of the first nationwide lockdown in India. Job loss was associated with higher reporting of mental health symptoms among men (aIRR = 1.16) while financial hardship was associated with poor mental health symptoms among women (aIRR = 1.29). Conversely, social support and government aid were associated with better mental health symptoms among women. Our findings highlight the need for financial assistance and job creation programs to aid families in the recovery process. There is also an urgent need for improving the availability and affordability of mental health services in rural areas.


Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Chatterji, S., McDougal, L., Johns, N., Ghule, M., Rao, N. & Raj, A. 2021, 'COVID-19-related financial hardship, job loss, and mental health symptoms: Findings from a cross-sectional study in a rural agrarian community in India', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(16), article no: 8647. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168647

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Last updated: 19 May 2023
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