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Locked down in distress: a causal estimation of the mental-health fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

Author

Listed:
  • Anaya, L.
  • Howley, P.
  • Waqas, M.
  • Yalonetzky, G.

Abstract

There is an extensive literature documenting the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. A nascent literature is also beginning to detail the mental health impact. This research has, for instance, told us much regarding the initial impacts of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders for mental well-being, but a limitation with much of this work is that any reported findings generally cannot be taken as causal estimates. In this study, we use a large-scale longitudinal survey coupled with differences-in-differences and a regression-discontinuity design to estimate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health. We find substantive estimated increases in psychological distress for the population overall but these impacts are not uniformly distributed. Specifically, the costs in terms of mental health appear to be much more pronounced for females, those with children, members of the BAME community and migrants. A further particularly important moderating variable appears to be people’s own subjective assessment as to the adequacy of their income.

Suggested Citation

  • Anaya, L. & Howley, P. & Waqas, M. & Yalonetzky, G., 2021. "Locked down in distress: a causal estimation of the mental-health fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 21/10, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:21/10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Guillaume Gueguen & Claudia Senik, 2022. "Adopting Telework. The causal impact of working from home on subjective wellbeing," Working Papers halshs-03455306, HAL.
    2. Chaudhuri, K & Howley, P., 2021. "The impact of Covid-19 vaccination for mental health," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 21/14, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. Gueguen, Guillaume & Senik, Claudia, 2022. "Adopting Telework. The causal impact of working from home on subjective well-being in 2020," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 2201, CEPREMAP.
    4. Schmidtke, Julia & Hetschko, Clemens & Schöb, Ronnie & Stephan, Gesine & Eid, Michael & Lawes, Mario, 2021. "The Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health and Subjective Wellbeing of Workers: An Event Study Based on High-Frequency Panel Data," IAB-Discussion Paper 202113, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    5. Chaudhuri, Kausik & Howley, Peter, 2022. "The impact of COVID-19 vaccination for mental well-being," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    6. Guillaume Gueguen & Claudia Senik, 2022. "Adopting Telework. The causal impact of working from home on subjective wellbeing," PSE Working Papers halshs-03455306, HAL.
    7. Costi, Chiara & Hollingsworth, Bruce & O'Sullivan, Vincent & Zucchelli, Eugenio, 2023. "Does caring for others affect our mental health? Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 321(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    well-being; Covid-19; lockdown; UK;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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