The prospective relationship between loneliness, life satisfaction, and psychological distress before and during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK

Milicev, J. , Qualter, P., Goodfellow, C. , Inchley, J. , Simpson, S. A. , Leyland, A. H. , Kharicha, K. and Long, E. (2022) The prospective relationship between loneliness, life satisfaction, and psychological distress before and during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. Journal of Public Health, (doi: 10.1007/s10389-022-01719-x) (PMID:35668719) (PMCID:PMC9136554) (Early Online Publication)

[img] Text
269778.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

890kB

Abstract

Aim: Mental wellbeing in the UK seems to have deteriorated significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the rates of loneliness, life satisfaction and psychological distress taking longer to return to the pre-pandemic levels than elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is little knowledge about the interactions between these outcomes, or the factors that played a role in the rates of change. The current study aims to address this gap by simultaneously investigating changes in loneliness, life satisfaction and psychological distress in the UK from pre-pandemic levels to those between April and November 2020, while critically assessing the role of a range of social ecological influencing factors. Subject and Methods: Longitudinal data from Understanding Society (N=3475) were used to explore the changes in loneliness, life satisfaction and psychological distress from pre-pandemic levels (2017-2019) through November 2020, the interactions between these outcomes, and the role of individual, social, community and geographic factors in the rates of change, using multivariate latent growth curve model. Results: Loneliness, life satisfaction and psychological distress deteriorated minimally between April and November 2020, compared to the pre-pandemic levels (2017–2019), while the rate of change in each outcome influenced the rates of change in the other two. Key individual (age, gender, physical health), social (number of friends and similarity to them), and environmental (neighbourhood quality) variables influenced baseline scores and the rates of change. Conclusion: Considering significant dynamic associations between loneliness, life satisfaction and psychological distress, we argue that interventions to tackle any one of the outcomes may have beneficial effects on others, while highlighting malleable factors and individual and community-level interventions to tackle loneliness.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Long, Dr Emily and Milicev, Jelena and Goodfellow, Ms Claire and Inchley, Dr Joanna and Simpson, Professor Sharon and Leyland, Professor Alastair
Authors: Milicev, J., Qualter, P., Goodfellow, C., Inchley, J., Simpson, S. A., Leyland, A. H., Kharicha, K., and Long, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Public Health
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:2198-1833
ISSN (Online):1613-2238
Published Online:27 May 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2022
First Published:First published in Journal of Public Health
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
308351Loneliness and Mental Health in Adolescent and Young Adult PopulationsEmily LongEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/T008679/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Complexity in healthSharon SimpsonMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/2HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Relationships and healthKirstin MitchellMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/3HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Complexity in healthSharon SimpsonChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU16HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU17HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Relationships and healthKirstin MitchellChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU18HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
302716MRC Skills Development Fellowship ProgrammeJill PellMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/S015078/1S&PS - Administration