Mental health and health behaviours before and during the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdown: longitudinal analyses of the UK Household Longitudinal Study

Niedzwiedz, C. L. et al. (2020) Mental health and health behaviours before and during the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdown: longitudinal analyses of the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, (doi: 10.1136/jech-2020-215060) (PMID:32978210) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Background: There are concerns that COVID-19 mitigation measures, including the ‘lockdown’, may have unintended health consequences. We examined trends in mental health and health behaviours in the UK before and during the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdown and differences across population subgroups. Methods: Repeated cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of the UK Household Longitudinal Study, including representative samples of over 27,000 adults (aged 18+) interviewed in four survey waves between 2015 and 2020. A total of 9748 adults had complete data for longitudinal analyses. Outcomes included psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire-12), loneliness, current cigarette smoking, use of e-cigarettes and alcohol consumption. Cross-sectional prevalence estimates were calculated and multilevel Poisson regression assessed associations between time period and the outcomes of interest, as well as differential associations by age, gender, education level and ethnicity. Results: Psychological distress increased 1 month into lockdown with the prevalence rising from 19.4% (95% CI 18.7% to 20.1%) in 2017–2019 to 30.6% (95% CI 29.1% to 32.3%) in April 2020 (RR=1.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.4). Groups most adversely affected included women, young adults, people from an Asian background and those who were degree educated. Loneliness remained stable overall (RR=0.9, 95% CI 0.6 to 1.5). Smoking declined (RR=0.9, 95% CI=0.8,1.0) and the proportion of people drinking four or more times per week increased (RR=1.4, 95% CI 1.3 to 1.5), as did binge drinking (RR=1.5, 95% CI 1.3 to 1.7). Conclusions: Psychological distress increased 1 month into lockdown, particularly among women and young adults. Smoking declined, but adverse alcohol use generally increased. Effective measures are required to mitigate negative impacts on health.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Katikireddi, Professor Vittal and Demou, Dr Evangelia and Thomson, Dr Rachel and Green, Dr Michael and Whitley, Dr Elise and Benzeval, Dr Michaela and Craig, Professor Peter and Campbell, Dr Desmond and Leyland, Professor Alastair and Niedzwiedz, Dr Claire and Pearce, Dr Anna
Authors: Niedzwiedz, C. L., Green, M. J., Benzeval, M., Campbell, D. D., Craig, P., Demou, E., Leyland, A. H., Pearce, A., Thomson, R. M., Whitley, E., and Katikireddi, S. V.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
ISSN:0143-005X
ISSN (Online):1470-2738
Published Online:25 September 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2020
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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