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Publication Detail
Mental health and wellbeing among people with informal caring responsibilities across different time points during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based propensity score matching analysis
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Mak HW, Bu F, Fancourt D
  • Publisher:
    SAGE Publications
  • Publication date:
    05/07/2022
  • Pagination:
    17579139221104973, ?
  • Journal:
    Perspect Public Health
  • Medium:
    Print-Electronic
  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Country:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Keywords:
    COVID-19, informal carers, mental health, mental wellbeing
  • Notes:
    This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
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 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 six key time points during the pandemic. METHODS: Data analysed were from the University College London (UCL) COVID -19 Social Study. Our study focused on six time points in England: (1) the first national lockdown (March-April 2020); (2) the beginning of first lockdown rules easing (May 2020); (3) the second national lockdown (November 2020); (4) the third national lockdown (January 2021); (5) the easing of the third lockdown (March 2021); and (6) the end of restrictions (July-August 2021). We considered five mental health and wellbeing measures: depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, loneliness, life satisfaction, and sense of being worthwhile. Propensity score matching was applied for the analyses. RESULTS: We found that informal carers experienced higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms than non-carers across much of the pandemic. 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 healthcare support, especially during a pandemic, it is crucial to integrate carers' needs into healthcare planning and delivery. These results highlight that there is a pressing need to provide adequate and targeted mental health support for carers during and following this pandemic.
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