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Publication Detail
Mental health and wellbeing amongst people with informal caring responsibilities across different time points during the COVID-19 pandemic: A population-based propensity score matching analysis
Abstract

Aims

Due to a prolonged period of national and regional lockdown measures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been an increase reliance on informal care and a consequent increase in care intensity for informal carers. In light of this, the current study compared the experiences of carers and non-carers on various mental health and wellbeing measures across 5 key time points during the pandemic.

Methods

Data analysed were from the UCL COVID -19 Social Study. Our study focused on 5 time points in England: (i) the first national lockdown (March-April 2020; N=12,053); (ii) the beginning of lockdown rules easing (May 2020; N=24,374); (iii) further easing (July 2020; N=21,395); (iv) new COVID-19 restrictions (September 2020; N=4,792); and (v) the three-tier system restrictions (October 2020; N=4,526). We considered 5 mental health and wellbeing measures-depression, anxiety, loneliness, life satisfaction and sense of worthwhile. Propensity score matching were applied for the analyses.

Results

We found that informal carers experienced higher levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety than non-carers across all time points. During the first national lockdown, carers also experienced a higher sense of life being worthwhile. No association was found between informal caring responsibilities and levels of loneliness and life satisfaction.

Conclusion

Given that carers are an essential national health care support, especially during a pandemic, it is crucial to integrate carers’ needs into healthcare planning and delivery. These results highlight there is a pressing need to provide adequate and targeted mental health support for carers during and following this pandemic.
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Behavioural Science and Health
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